Monday, June 29, 2009

Grasshoppers Aren't Just for Hoppin'

This is one of the delectable delicacies we got to experience in Uganda...grasshoppers! You first pull off the legs and wings, then season and fry 'em up and have yourself a tasty treat. As we popped them into our mouths their eyeballs stared us down. The texture was what I had a hard time with, they were very... crunchy. Gabe described them as tasting like buttered popcorn, but not as good. I think they tasted like fried rice paper with nutty, earthy undertones. They would go well with a light Pinot Grigio :-) Our Wells of Hope friends kept telling us that they are considered a delicacy and are very expensive but... when we got to Kenya we told them we ate grasshoppers and they asked, "Why would you eat a bug?" Good question.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Rainbow

Here is our friend Jared spreading the love in Uganda. While we were at the grandmother's house a crowd of neighbors gathered to see what was going on. WHile we were there, we put on a play about Jesus walking on water, told some stories, and did some face painting. Well, the guy in the picture wanted his chest painted. I think he was looking for a female artist, but Jolena volunteered the closest male available and it just happened to be Jared! Being the willing volunteer, Jared stepped up to the plate and asked what he wanted on his chest. His request: a giant rainbow. As you can see Jared took the job very seriously, and his hard work paid off, it was the most beautiful giant chest rainbow I've ever seen! Good job Jared!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This One's for You Dad!

My dad's favorite type of jokes are plays on words, so because these jokes have been engrained in my DNA, I just couldn't help myself when we were in Uganda and we drove by the source of the Nile. I just couldn't stop it from coming out of my mouth "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt." A few snickers from our team, Wells of Hope team... silence. I should have stopped there, but Emma our Ugandan friend asked, "Does anyone know where the Nile (de-nial) comes from?" And I said, "It comes from not accepting the truth." Emma said, "No, I accept the truth." I started to try and explain that I know he accepts the truth, and as I envisioned the rest of the conversation in my head, I just ended with "nevermind." So lesson learned: Play on word jokes do not work when English is the 2nd language. (Dad, take note as we will be traveling to Mexico in July. You may need to start coming up with some new material)

Gabe with Emma, our Ugandan friend who accepts the truth!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wells of Hope

Wells of Hope is the 1st organization that we worked with. Francis Ssuubi founded this organization after he was unjustly imprisoned.  While in prison, he felt called to fight for those who are often forgotten and dismissed by society.  Francis met us at the airport when we arrived in Africa. He didn't actually believe we were coming until saw us at the airport.  In fact, when Jolena sent him money in advance to pay for our hotel and ministry items, he went to the bank, got the money, and then he thought it was a trick so he ran from the bank with the money. I think he was quite relieved when he saw us get off that plane.  Pictured: Me with Prossy and Emma, Wells of Hope Volunteers

Often families of prisoner's are outcasted from their communities which can be very devastating to the family.  Sometimes the children are left to wander the streets.  Wells of Hope does the research to find families of the prisoner's and then they offer their support.  Sometimes their help is rejected because the family is so ashamed of the person in prison, but if help is accepted then they provide school fees and basic needs for the children.  They assist families of prisoners to start up income generating businesses. They also conduct programs to educate people about AIDS and provide prisoners with hygiene items, bibles, food, and counsel.  Check out their website to see all they do: 

They do this all on a voluntary basis and I think Gabe said it best, "They have shown us what it is really like to follow Christ."  Not everyone understands the mission of Wells of Hope mission, but God does and their reward awaits them in heaven.  This is the verse on the Wells of Hope business cards: "The Spirit of God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners" Isaiah 61:1

Wells of Hope Offices

While we were with Wells of Hope we were able to visit families of prisoners and hear their stories, speak at 3 different prisons, and spend a day in worship and encouragement with the Wells of Hope team.  Here are some highlights:
  • Seeing the prisoners worship. They worship with everything they have!
  • When going to the prisons we split into 3 groups: Men, Condemned, and Women's.  I was with the woman's group and we witnessed 4 women become "born again" in Christ!
  • Visiting the homes of prisoner's families.   One woman decided to accept Christ while we were there! (Pictured with her family below) 
  • Visiting a grandmother's house who takes care of many children.  We put on a play for the family and neighbors who stopped by to see why all the white people showed up.  I was in charge coming up with a way to minister to the grandmother and before I left for the trip I read about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples and I thought, "that is what I want to do."  So I did, and it was one of the highlights of the trip for me. She was speaking to the translator and kept saying things like, "I can't believe this is happening to me." and "I've never seen God work in the flesh, but this is showing more about who God is."  Wow!  I don't often have the chance to serve someone like that and I can see why Jesus said now go do this for others.   There is such joy found in serving others, and it truly reflects Christ's love for us. 
Above: The grandmother with some of the kids she takes care of.  They are all looking up at Gabe in this picture.  He is one tall mizungu (white person)!
  • Meeting the Wells of Hope team and seeing what it means to not conform to the patterns of this world.  Gabe was so inspired by the ministry that we have agreed to be their US representatives... we are not really sure what this means, but we are excited about the possibilities.  I'm sure there will be more on this later...
After we said goodbye to Wells of Hope, we got in our vans and headed off to Kenya... to be continued...

New Title

Trying out a new blog title.  Thanks Diana for the idea!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We're Back!

We are back in Amarillo and I am planning on updating the blog with stories from our trip soon. There has been a slight hiccup because my journal is in the hands of a thief along with my passport and a few other belongings. On the 2nd to last day of our trip our vehicle was broken into and 6 bags were stolen. 3 of us left our passports in our bags so we ended up getting to stay in Africa for another day where we got a wonderful tour of the US Embassy in Kenya. The devil was trying to steal our joy, but it ain't gunna happen. The trip was still amazing and I will be posting stories soon!

Also, thank you so much to all of you who were praying for us! We all are back home safe and sound with memories that will last a lifetime. Many seeds were planted, and many have found a new hope in Christ!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


So internet access has been pretty limited. I have been journaling so I can update when I get home, but just wanted to let you know that the trip has been amazing and everything has been going great! Thank you so much for all of your prayers. We feel protected and have had peace and guidance in all we have done. We are in Kenya and will be dedicating the water well today. Be praying that we strike water!! It will be a great day of celebration! We will see you all in a week! Love, Brooke

Monday, May 18, 2009

We Are Expecting!

No, we are not pregnant, but we are expecting!  I am expecting great things.  When I heard about this trip, something started tugging on my heart.  I made many excuses as to why not to go, but couldn't get it out of my mind.  After much prayer, discussing with Gabe, and then meeting with Jolena, we decided to go.  I don't step out in faith very often, but I hope I am starting a new pattern.  Now with less than a week left before we leave, I know that I am supposed to be going on this trip.

Among one of my many excuses not to go was that we would have to stop trying to get pregnant for a couple months. We have to get a lot of immunizations and it is not recommended to get pregnant while being shot up with a bunch of chemicals, makes sense.  Most of you know that we have been trying to get pregnant since last summer and have had no results so far, although practice makes perfect (that's the theory anyways). I only have one functional fallopian tube, so we knew it was going to take us a little longer than the average Joe (and Jane). This has not been a huge source of worry, but the journey is a bit of an emotional one.  

I just wanted to write about this as a testament to how amazing God is.  At the end of one of our meetings for our trip we each were instructed to draw a name of a team member out of a bowl, and we were to go over and pray for him or her.  I drew Kristen's name and once I was done praying for her she asked if she could pray for me.  Of course I said sure, so she began to pray.  As she was praying she looked up and said, "I don't know if this is way off, but I have a picture of you in my mind and you are pregnant.  You are walking towards the sun and holding a man's hand."  Now Kristen had no knowledge of our history and did not even know that this was a concern of mine.  After getting over the shock of the moment, I thought, "Oh my gosh, He really loves me." And for someone who struggles with guilt, this is a great realization.  It also gave me confirmation that this is what we are supposed to be doing.  

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

I am looking forward to this trip and beyond with great expectations!  

PS. We leave in T minus 3 days!!!  WOW!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Detailed Itinerary

Here is a more detailed itinerary. Created by Jolena Watson:


Place :

Pray for us:

Gifts: We have already received most of funds for all the gifts thanks to all the generous givers !!

Prayer partner:

May 23

Depart Amarillo – 1:05 pm

Travel and baggage- 22 hours !

May 24

Arrive in Uganda - 8:15 pm

Drivers to be in place . Waiting and ready to receive us - they will be coming all the from Kenya

May 25

Orphanage and neighborhood outreach

Minister to broken young lives

Food , hygiene items

May 26

Kirinya, Jinja womens & remand -three different prisons -hundreds of prisoners!

Speak powerful words that breakthrough veils and doubt , words of prophecy for them

Bibles , food & hygiene items

May 27

Orphanage and neighborhoood outreach

Serve the grandmother leader and minister to young broken lives

Food , hygiene items

May 28

Luzira condemned men & women prison & deathrow --------Juvenile prison . Four different prisons with hundreds and hundreds ....

Speak words of real HOPE , forgiveness and purpose . Strength & words of prophecy

Bibles , food , hygiene items

May 29

Wells of Hope office( organization we are working with )

Ministering to the ministry team (25).

Christian books

Rongo , Kenya

May 30

Travel across Uganda to Rongo -12 hrs.?

Minister to the stranger* and travel

Gifts ???

May 31

** Church service , home visits & video

Strengthen , comfort & encourage.

To pray healing , deliverance , joy and purpose for them

Food , mattresses, Bibles

June 1

Home visits , seminar and , video

Outreach to entire community – unity

Food & Bibles

June 2

Travel to Nairobi – 8 hours ??

Rest , unity , joy , wonder , renewal

June 3

Massailands – ***Water well dedication !!!!

Water well to blow ! Tribes to receive Jesus as Lord – favor with leadership

Food & Bibles & WATER

June 4

Mitumba Slums – Nairobi , Kenya

Children's seminar

To present the Savior in an exciting and purposeful way to children

Food , tracks , crafts

June 5

Church seminar and the ****first ever Mitumba community outreach with a night movie outreach .

Empowering words and actions – we are discipling the very broken and very thrown away by society . At dark we need your prayers for opened ears and safty

Food, Bibles , tracts

June 6

Sinai Slum- newly evangelised slum in Nairobi

Mitumba Bible Cub for youth & orphanage -play at park time & dinner

Prayer walk

Outreach to youth in the slums and precious play time with the orphans


Food ,beds, mattresses,sheet

June 7

Church, Sight seeing and departure at 11:45pm

Kristin will be staying behind to begin her volunteer time in Mitumba

Travel safety and rest on the way home –

Pray for her as this will be a testing time


* We believe the Holy Spirit has given us knowledge that there will be a time of encountering a stranger on the road to minister to.

**This is the AIDS area – we will be given the entire Church service time to minister and then we are going to the homes of the widows and orphans that have been kicked out of the community for following the ways of God . Also getting to show a video at night to reach out to them all in this area . Video in the wilderness on a sheet!!

*** The water well should be ready and hopefully blow water the day we arrive – this is to be a celebration day with over 250 tribe members and 8 government officials attending

**** Video outreach to Mitumba – we have hired government security to provide a safty needed to be out after dark in the slums – this is very risky ground we will be on and requiring much prayer please!

Thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Prayer Needed

We had our second to last meeting for our trip to Africa last Sunday where we learned that even more has been added to our itinerary.  Jolena Watson is the mastermind behind this trip, and she has teamed up with 3 trusted ministries in Africa: Wells of Hope, Christian Mission Aid (CMA), and REM Kenya in which we will be serving.  Our goal and theme of the trip is to bring HOPE to those who have very little.  Through these ministries we will be serving prisoners, orphans, victims of AIDS, students, government officials, and whoever else we happen to come across on our journey.  Here is a very rough draft of our itinerary. (There will be an updated itinerary soon and I will post that on the blog.)  

May 23: travel to Africa from Amarillo

May 24-29 (Uganda): Prison ministry (Gabe will be teaching at the juvenile prison where there may be a crowd of 2500!), visits to orphanages, neighborhood outreach. We will be providing food, bibles and hygiene products to the prisoners, and families of prisoners.

May 30: travel to Nyanza - Rongo

May 31-June 1 (Nyanza - Rongo): AIDS ministry, home visits, food ministry 

June 2: Travel to Massailand

June 3 (Massailand): Well dedication, 8 government officials will be attending and Jolena will be teaching.  This will be a day of celebration!

June 4-6 (Mitumba slums): Our group will conduct the church service and a seminars to adults one day and children at the school the next day. We will make orphanage visits and will be conducting manual labor wherever needed.  We have been given permission to show a movie called "The Hope" where anyone from the village can attend.  This is considered pretty dangerous because usually nothing good happens in the slums after dark, but they have given us permission.  There will be police in attendance and we will be serving popcorn and tea.  This could be a really great opportunity to get a message to the whole community!  

June 7th - adventure day (Jolena has a surprise for us this day, I'm thinking it might involve animals...)

June 8th - travel home

 There is no doubt that a lot of prayer is going to be necessary to guide and protect us on this trip.  Some of you have already committed to pray for us and we are extremely grateful!  What we would like to do is find people to pray and possibly fast for us on specific days on our trip. If you would like to commit to a day of focused prayer for us, then please leave your name in the comments.  If there is a specific day that you prefer then specify which day, otherwise I will just assign you a day.  Thank you for all of your love and support! 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Startings of a Blog

Well hello there. I decided to start a blog to update all those who are interested in keeping up with our African adventures, and who knows I might throw in some stories about other things as well. I thought it would be easier than sending out e-mail updates. This way you can stop by on your terms.

We are leaving May 24th and will return June 8th. I will try my best to keep this blog updated with prayer requests for our team and any other interesting updates. So stay tuned because I know that God is going to do some amazing things on this trip!

Also, I could not think of a catchy/creative name for the blog.  "Skypala Stories"... lame-o.  Any suggestions?  Please leave ideas in "comments" Thanks!