Monday, September 27, 2010

Meet Barbara Budeme

Leading the way in Watoto's development and sustainability projects is Watoto's very own Barbara Budeme. Yet another success story, this bright 26-year-old is currently running the entire Goat Farm at Suubi Children's Village.

Commenting on the initiative Barbara says, "My desire is to see that Watoto has enough food from its own projects to cater for the children. By doing this, we reduce the operating costs and enable more vulnerable children to be rescued and raised through Watoto."

But Barbara's life was not always so full of promise. When Barbara was just an infant, her father sadly passed away. In the wake of his death, her mother and brother were thrown out of the family home and left to fend for themselves. It was around this time that Watoto had begun recruiting for the first batch of mothers. Barbara and her brother were among the first children to join Watoto with their mother, Mary. Soon, six other special children came under the loving care of housemother Mary.

In 1996, Barbara was privileged to travel with the Watoto Children's Choir, an experience she will always cherish. Keeping in line with her sustainability mantra, Barbara now empowers and prepares the future Watoto choirs for their overseas experiences. One of her favorite things to assist in is ensuring their hair is done beautifully.

After successfully completing high school, she enrolled for a Food Science and Technology degree at Makerere University, Kampala. Her major is in Nutrition and she is currently working on her final project with graduation just around the corner at the end of 2010.

Today, Barbara is an energetic young girl with a heart for Jesus and a desire to serve Him with her skills and talent. With a solid degree, strong family life and a promising career ahead, Barbara's future is incredibly bright.

By partnering with Watoto Child Care Ministries, you can give people like Barbara the opportunity to excel.

Find out how you can change a life by sponsoring a Watoto child today by visiting the Watoto website at

Excerpt from the Fall 2010 Watoto Newsletter

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Green-Eyed Monster

One of my favorite places to go is Disney World.  Yes, I’m still a big kid at heart.  I am thoroughly entertained when I’m there.  I love the shows, the rides, and the food, just everything about it.  There’s also a lot of sentimental value attached to Disney World for me and my sister, Robbie Lee.  We’ve been going there since we were kids.  On our first visit there was just the Magic Kingdom and I was overwhelmed then.  Now there’s Epcot, Animal Kingdom and MGM Studios.  It’s mind boggling, but I do it all.  
On one trip when Robbie and I were much younger, we stayed in Fort Wilderness, a Disney campground.  We stayed in a fully furnished trailer that was more like a small apartment.  We thought we were big shots.  It was great.  We’d go out to the parks and stay all day and all night and come home dragging our behinds to our home away from home. We’d stop at the camp store on the grounds and get snacks, drinks and whole dinners.  They had everything.  
One night we came home rather late to the trailer, exhausted from our daily adventures of riding Space Mountain and chasing Mickey around for photographs.  We stopped and got some chicken, baked beans, cole slaw and ice tea and carried it all back to our trailer.  We were tired and had our arms filled with bags as we struggled to unlock the trailer door.  Luckily we had left the outside light on so we could see how to get in.  Suddenly, Robbie tapped me on the shoulder and pointed up near the outside light.  “What in the world is that?” she whispered, looking like she’d seen a monster.  I stopped fiddling with the lock long enough to look up and I nearly dropped everything right there.  It was the ugliest, biggest, scariest looking green bug I had ever seen.  I’d never seen anything like it.  “We have to make sure we get inside quickly and slam the door behind us so that green-eyed monster doesn’t get inside our trailer,” I say decisively.  “Uh-huh,” said Robbie Lee, never taking her eyes off the hideous bug. 
I finally got the door unlocked.  “Now when I count to three, I’ll throw open the door and we’ll run inside as fast as we can.  You slam the door as soon as you get inside,” I instructed Robbie.  “Uh-huh,” said Robbie Lee.  “One, two, THREE!”  I flung open the door and we jumped inside, with both of us screaming and pushing each other through the door.  Slam!  Robbie Lee pushed the door closed behind us.  “Looks like we made it safely inside,” I said, checking all around to make sure there was no bug monster in sight.  “Uh-huh,” said Robbie Lee, her eyes searching the room.  “Come on, we’ve got lots of good food.  Let’s make a spread and eat.  I’m starving,” I said, laying out the chicken and beans.  
Robbie Lee finally came away from the door and we switched our focus to eating.  “I know,” Robbie Lee suggested, “let’s pull out the sofa bed and put in a good movie and eat our food there.  It’ll be like a picnic, only inside.”  Robbie Lee seemed proud of this suggestion and so I agreed.  We pulled out the sofa bed, threw blankets all over it and put in a movie.  We grabbed our plates of chicken, beans, slaw and sodas and crawled onto the bed like it was a big blanket spread out in a park.  We were really enjoying ourselves, eating, watching the movie and talking about all we had done that day.  Just then, I happened to look up above me and I could not believe my eyes.  It was the green-eyed monster bug just above my head.  He had gotten in after all and had been watching us all along.  Suddenly, he swooped down toward us and what happened next was unbelievable.  We threw our plates of chicken, slaw and beans up in the air and started screaming for our lives.  We were throwing pillows, cans, bottles, food and anything we could get our hands on to kill the bug monster.  He just kept diving at us like he had planned to torture us all along.  We grabbed pots and put them over our heads to protect ourselves from this creature from hell.  Finally, Robbie Lee got mad and grabbed a broom and started sweeping him toward the door, screaming with every swing.  I flung open the front door and she pushed him outside.  We slammed the door shut and collapsed on the floor.  What a nightmare.  
After we regained our composure we started to look around the room.  “Oh my!” I sighed.  “Look at this mess.”  There was chicken everywhere.  There was slaw and beans stuck to everything in sight, even on the ceiling.  The bed sheets were covered with beans and soda.  It was something like I’d never seen before.  We spent the rest of the night picking up food and scrubbing down the walls, not the night we were hoping for.  We both slept with our eyes open all night, just in case the bug monster figured out how to open the front door.  
Sometimes there are things in our past that we think we’ve dealt with, but we haven’t, like unforgiveness.  Somewhere along the way someone did or said something that we haven’t been able to forgive, even though we say we have.  Only when someone brings it up do we realize we  haven’t forgiven them at all.  Instead, we’ve allowed it to grow into a monster that pursues us throughout our life until we finally have to have a show down.  We have to decide to get rid of it once and for all or to let it attack us over and over again until it destroys us.  We just can’t seem to let go of it.  We enjoy carrying it around.  We defend ourselves and point out that it’s the other person’s fault that we are the way we are.  I’m not saying forgiveness is easy.  Sometimes the things we have to forgive are terrible trespasses.  Yet the pain of carrying around the bitterness is even worst.  The person you can’t forgive is probably walking around happy and living their lives.  You’re the one that’s miserable and suffering painful attacks every time someone mentions their name.  
This was really brought home to me recently by a group of young men and women, as well as children, from Uganda, Africa. Each of them had formerly been abducted and forced to serve as  child soldiers and slaves for the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) and made to perform unspeakable crimes. Here they stood on the stage in my church, performing in a musical drama called “Restore Tour, A Child Soldier No More) a play about their terrible experiences back in Uganda. However, after their reenactment of this horrible nightmare, each one stepped up to the microphone and proclaimed their forgiveness for the men of the LRA who had been their abductors and tormentors. They claimed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior over their lives and then danced in joy and celebration as they worshipped our God. I was moved to tears as I stood on my feet and lifted my hands to worship with them. How amazing is forgiveness and how liberating to let go of those things that were meant to destroy us. After watching these young people perform and give their testimonies, I felt ashamed of the times I’ve let petty things in my past control my future by holding them close instead of pushing them out of my life. If they could forgive these horrible events in their young lives and reach out to forgiveness, how much more should I be able to get past the comparably small issues in my own past and get on with my life. 
Colossians 3:13 tells us to forgive as the Father forgave you.  Think of one thing you need to forgive.  It may be small or it may be something that looms large over your daily life. Speak it to yourself.  Ask God to help you forgive that person(s).  Then lay it at the feet of Jesus.  Let it go.  Don’t let it pursue you in life any longer.  Then celebrate. Dance, sing or maybe even go to Disney World. Slam the door shut on that green-eyed monster and get on with your walk with Christ.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Take the Wheel God

A couple of years ago I did a book signing for my first book, Life is a Buffet So Save Room for Dessert.  It was at the Discover Life Bookstore and Café in Norfolk, VA, a really nice bookstore with café lattes and nice comfortable chairs.  I was kind of nervous because being in the public eye is something God is using to stretch me like a rubber band.  Sometimes I feel like I’m going to snap, but I don’t.  God just keeps on stretching and I always manage to survive the thing I dread all day the day before.  
The book signing was not your typical two or three hour event.  This one was from 9:00am to 3:00pm, six hours.  The store wanted me there to accommodate all of their Sunday services, which started at 7:00am.  Yes, I said 7:00am.  These are serious Christians.  I would be snoring underneath my seat if I attended church at 7:00am.  God would be saying, “What in the world is that noise?  Let me reach down there and slap her up side her head and wake her up.”  That’s why I don’t attend church at 7:00am.  It’s best for my Christian walk if I attend a later service.
Anyway, I got up early and put on my Sunday best.  I made my sister, Robbie Lee go with me since she’s the one that arranged the six hour book signing telethon event.  We jumped in the car and headed down the road.  I was driving along when I suddenly realized that we didn’t pray about the success of the book signing the night before.  So I suggested that Robbie Lee pray while we were driving there.  Robbie Lee gave me a look because I think she was planning on sleeping during the drive to the store and I had rudely interrupted this plan with my request for prayer.  Robbie Lee agreed, however, and bowed her head and closed her eyes.  Out of habit, I did the same thing.  Fortunately, God gave me a kind reminder that He appreciated my faith, but He wasn’t up to driving the car that morning and that I should keep my eyes open and on the road ahead.  I quickly opened my eyes and lifted my head.  It was true, I was driving the car.  Right in the middle of Robbie Lee’s sincere praying I busted out laughing.

“What in the world are you laughing at?” asked Robbie Lee, with an angry look on her face.  “Can’t you see I’m trying to pray?  What happened?”  It took me a moment to stop laughing.  “I bowed my head and closed my eyes to pray along with you and God reminded me that I have this whole driving thing going on over here,” I said.  “You closed your eyes and bowed your head while you were driving the car?” asked Robbie Lee in disbelief.  “Yeah, isn’t that a scream?” I replied.  Robbie Lee looked worried.  “Why don’t we both pray with our eyes open?  That way I can watch you while you watch the road,” suggested Robbie Lee.  “Can I help it if I’m a real woman of faith?” I asked proudly.  Robbie Lee stared at me, trying to figure out if we were truly related.  Perhaps I was an alien from another planet.  I just smiled and continued to drive, with my eyes open of course.  
After the prayer we stopped at a fast-food restaurant to get something to eat.  We went through the drive-through and ordered a sausage biscuit for Robbie and a cinnamon raisin biscuit for me.  We ate the biscuits as we were driving to the bookstore.  Then the thing happened that I had feared.  Icing from my cinnamon raisin biscuit fell into my lap and got all over my  pants.  I was trying to wipe and drive at the same time.  (I know you’re thinking you don’t want to be around this woman if she’s anywhere on the road.)  The more I wiped, the worst it got.  I had icing and biscuit crumbs all over me.  When we pulled into the parking lot I tried again to get the icing stains out of my clothes, but they just smeared everywhere.  I wanted to cry, but we laughed instead.  “Can’t take you anywhere,” mumbled Robbie Lee, laughing behind my back as we walked into the store.  
Once inside, we were greeted by the store manager and we smiled and acted very professional.  They had no idea what had gone on before we arrived and God must have heard our prayer through all the laughter because the book signing went very well.  Fortunately, my jacket was long enough that it hid some of the icing stains on my pants.  I managed to sneak into the bathroom and scrub at them with wet paper towels for a while, but you know how wet paper towels just leave bits and pieces behind on your clothes.  Finally, I just gave up and made sure I stayed seated for most of the book signing. 
I couldn’t help but think about how much I had dreaded the day and yet, I ended up laughing through most of it.  I remembered what Joyce Meyer said in her daily devotions book, Start Your Day Right.  She says, “Dread is a close relative of fear.  When dread enters, joy leaves.  Dread sets you up for misery, because by choosing to dread you decide that you cannot enjoy what you must do today.”  It made me realize that I had wasted too much time dreading things that I ended up enjoying afterwards.  God thumped me on the head on the way over to the store and said, “Lighten up, you need to laugh.”  
New experiences can be scary, but they can also be fun and make our lives more interesting, especially when we let God take the wheel. We can trust Him to lead us through anything that comes our way, good or bad.  Don’t dread the opportunities God puts into your life.  Enjoy them.  He promises to equip us and to carry us through those things we fear and He always keeps His promise.  Just remember to keep your eyes open if you’re prone to praying while driving the car.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Peaceful Night

Have you ever watched somebody sleeping?  Perhaps you’ve slipped into your child’s room late at night while they’re sound asleep.  You stand over him, but they don’t even know you’re there.  Sitting down beside him, you begin to stroke his hair and touch the back of your hand to his cheek.  No matter what’s happened that day, good or bad, there’s that special moment of peace hanging over him at that moment.  You want to cradle him in your arms, but you’re afraid you’ll wake him.  
As you sit quietly, contemplating how much he’s grown, you can’t help but wonder what the future holds for him, especially in this day and age.  What will he be when he grows up?  How tall will he grow?  Will he heed most of your warnings, using caution in his decisions or will he just throw caution to the wind when you’re not there to look over his shoulder?  A million thoughts run through your mind.  Tears fill your eyes and you brush them away with the t-shirt that he tossed across the chair next to the bed.  You have such great dreams for him, such great hopes.  If only you could hold his hand all the way, but you know that’s not possible.  Sooner or later you have to let go.  Will he still love you and want to come around to see you once he’s   outgrown the nest?  So many things you want to tell him, but the clocks is ticking away and the hours are flying by.  Some things he will have to learn for himself.  You hope he will rely on the lessons you’ve so carefully taught him on a daily basis, but you’ll just have to wait and see.  
He turns in his bed and you take your hand away from his brow.  You don’t want to disturb his peaceful slumber.  You take in a deep breath and wonder if you’ve done all the right things.  Your eyes study his face and you fondly recall his eyes looking up at you when he was just an infant.  He took his first step downstairs in your living room.  When he stumbled you instantly reached for him to give him balance and to encourage him to try again.  Now he’s riding a bike and he wants a motorized scooter.  You swallow hard.  Where has the time gone?  
Just before you leave the room, you pull the covers up over his shoulders and tuck him in.  You touch his face once more.  His hand brushes yours but he has no idea you’re standing over him, watching him sleep.  Your eyes are heavy and you walk to the door, turning to look once more before you leave the room.  It’s so quiet.  The morning will bring a new day and lots of activity, but for now it’s quiet.  You lean your head against the door and whisper a prayer and then tiptoe out of the room, leaving the door ajar behind you, just in case he needs you.  
Every moment of every day, God is standing over us.  When we think He is distant and out of reach, He’s right there beside us, watching.  If we could see with supernatural eyes, we would see His fingerprints on every area of our life.  “The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”  Psalm 121:5-8. 
Sleep peacefully knowing He’s standing watch over you, desiring for you to fulfill the plans He has for your life.  With His Word He encourages you, motivates you to trust Him.  He watches you grow and make decisions.  He hears your every cry and knows the desires of your heart.  You are His child and the apple of His eye.  He never slumbers so you can.