Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chickens, Snakes and Chameleon Funerals

The kids hanging out with the chicken 
We had the opportunity to go into the market yesterday to pick up some items for the upcoming week.  Kari sent me with a list of things to pick up from the market; one of the items was a chicken.  No big deal right, just go to the frozen section or the meat market and grab a chicken.  This market is an open air market, much like a farmer’s market back home.  My only option…. a live chicken.  The grand total of live chickens this boy from College Station, Texas has brought home is zero.  However, always up for a new challenge I went into the market to get myself a chicken.  I got some help from one of the locals who told me a fair price and helped me to pick out a good one.  So off I went with my live chicken, feet tied together and a firm grip behind the wings.  I do not know who was more nervous or was in a more awkward position, me or the chicken.  Now imagine that two Muzungos (white people) in the market already draw a lot of attention, but a Muzungo carrying a live chicken with a terrified look on his face draws a lot more attention.  We loaded up in the truck, the chicken and I riding shotgun and made the journey back home.  First time I bought a live chicken and the first time I rode with one in my lap.  When we got home the kids were very excited to have a chicken and we named it “Dinner.” 
Everett having a discussion with Dinner

We decided the chicken should not spend the night tethered to the porch since there are stray dogs that roam around at night.  So I walked, yes walked like on a leash, the chicken to our shed.  I opened the door and did the obligatory sweep with the flashlight for any creepy crawly things.  Thinking the coast was clear, I started walking the chicken into the shed, just as I was passing through the door that’s when it stuck it's head out.  A snake!  There was a snake crawling on the backside of the door and it stuck it head out between the door and the door frame about 6 inches from my shoulder.  I froze with fear; I just do not like snakes.  Breathlessly I backed away and got some words out, enough to alert Kari that something was wrong.  She and the kids came to the window and kept yelling for me to get inside.    I kept the light on the snake, stayed a good 6-8 feet away and called our local snake wrangler.  With one green mamba already to his credit I called Uncle Matt from across the street.  He came armed with a flashlight and a big stick.  After about 30 minutes of searching since the snake crawled to the back of the shed, we finally had success. Uncle Matt found the snake curled up in the back corner.  He thought the snake was non-venomous since it was non-aggressive, but my thoughts on an unidentified snake here in Africa are that a good snake is a dead snake.  They have snakes here that will kill you very quickly.  The locals call the Black Mamba and the Green Mamba two-step snakes, because if you get bitten by one you will get about two steps before you are finished. So with that in mind, Uncle Matt now has two confirmed snake kills in Uganda.

When all the excitement of the great snake hunt ended, we realized that our littlest chameleon Zachius was not doing too good.  Kari got him out of his tree and tried to nurse him back to health with some water.  She even tried to force feed him a small fly, but it was to no avail.  Zachius went to that big tree in the sky.  Everyone was very upset so we had a small funeral service for Zachius.  We wrapped him in a leaf, put him in a small box and buried him under the big tree in our front yard. We came back inside and did some eulogies on video and let the kids talk about their 3 weeks with Zachius and what he meant to them.  It was very sad for the little guy, but the kids interviews were very cute and they even made us all laugh in the end.

We had quit the night here, but that is a typical Saturday Segner Family night here in Uganda

Thursday, April 19, 2012

We are all Teachers.....

We are all teachers…….even though you may be a lawyer or an accountant, chef or businessman; in everything you do you are a teacher. You may not be writing on a blackboard or grading papers, but you teach everyday. In everything we do, we are teaching someone else. Those of us who are parents have an enormous role as a teacher. We are teaching and molding our children in all that we do. They watch our actions, they listen to our words and they mimic us.  Good or bad.  We are shaping their lives and their walk with the Lord

I do not have children so I am off the hook.  If you are thinking that then you are dead wrong!  People watch the way you act at work and they imitate or take cues from you.  They do the same thing in your personal life; they imitate you and your actions.

How many of us call ourselves Christians?  Once you proclaim yourself a Christian many people will watch you more closely. They will look to you for advice, they will watch your actions and your words. Some will want to be more like you, others will wait for you to make a mistake and hope for you to stumble.

1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my bothers and sisters, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what they say, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” James 3:1-2

When we enroll our children in school we often ask the question “What curriculum are you teaching?” We want the best curriculum for our children because we want them to succeed. My question to all of us is this: What curriculum are we teaching at home? What curriculum are we teaching at home with our words, our thoughts and our actions?  We have the perfect curriculum left neatly packaged for us in the Bible. It is up to us to teach from this curriculum. We also have the perfect teacher to emulate. We can not be the perfect teacher, but the good news it we do not have to be by the Grace of God. There is only one perfect teacher.  The One who was, who is and is to come.

God continues to teach us through all that we do.  He teaches us through the triumphs and the struggles.  Are we willing to learn from His teachings?

“Mistakes of doctors are locked away in the grave with the dead, mistakes of the lawyers are locked away in the prisons but the mistakes of teachers are roaming amongst us all.”

Monday, April 2, 2012

96 Glorious Hours

We had 96 straight hours of uninterrupted electricity!  This was by far the longest stretch of continuous power that we have had.  We had electricity from Sunday after lunch to Thursday after lunch; we finally lost it when a storm rolled in this past Thursday afternoon. It was amazing! We all started making jokes “Don’t talk about the electricity; it will go away if we talk about it.” We all kept expecting it to go off any minute and were even shocked every time we walked in the door or flipped on a light switch and still had power.  I began to worry and wonder when it was going off next.  I even started to not enjoy having the power because something must be wrong if it is on this long.  If it is on this long, does it mean that next time it goes off will it be off for long.

It made me think about a passage Kari taught on during our training.

II Corinthians 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

This made me think that we all cling to these earthly things. We often worry about what if I lose a loved one, what if something happens to my kids, what if something happens to Kari?  We spend all this time worrying about these things instead of enjoying the time we are given and focusing on the long term promise. This verse encouraged me that even though we will have hardships in this life, that there is hope in Christ.   We will all face hardships and have to endure tough times here on earth, but we should fix our eyes on the eternal promise. Our time here on earth is short, only a flash in time when compared with eternity. We should all let God be our strength during these times.

Right after we enjoyed the long stretch of power and were all worried about it going out again…we lost it for 4 days.  This simple example of electricity is a great example of living out our lives.   And guess what?  We have it back again!