Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Happy Journal

Every night before I go to sleep I write in my Happy Journal. The idea to start this journal came at the very beginning of mission from none other than the most amazing site partners ever--Cait and Grace. It is exactly what it sounds like-a journal to write down one thing that made me happy, made me laugh, or brought me joy that day. Just a few words or sentences each day. Some days it is so easy to remember one key time during the day. Sometimes I even have many things I want to write in my happy journal but I have to pick just one. But there are still a few other days I really struggle to think of something. However, it always happens that when I think over every moment from that day, the small event that I finally remember always has a greater impact on my day than I thought.
Lifting weights/shoes with our friends!
With the craziness and the unknown aspect of mission life the past few weeks, I've had so many different emotions. I was really missing the kids and feeling a bit down a few days ago, so I pulled out my happy journal and read the entry from each day over the past (almost) five months. It did exactly what it was supposed to do. It made me laugh and remember the cute little moments in each day that I so often take for granted. After reading through it, I thought I would share some of the entries from my happy journal--some of my joys and little victories from this journey so far.

September 3- Today at football practice the girls wanted to give me a Zande name (the local tribal language). They picked out a word that means "joy." Now they call me Sister Mborago--Sister Joy.

September 18- This afternoon Grace, Ariel, and I did a work out video on the veranda. Soon, three girls came and did everything with us. When we picked up our hand weights they took their shoes off and used their shoes as weights. It was the cutest thing!

October 1- Today the four of us were talking and Phoiza came up behind us and said, "Sister, you said you do not have a native language, but you lied. You were just speaking it with each other." Apparently when we talk fast it sounds like a foreign language to the kids. No matter how many times we assure them, they are convinced our fast English is a different language.

My sweet Ariel--what would I do without her!?
October 2- Tonight it was pouring rain and I was up at the Fathers' house. My first thought was "Oh no, I have my flip-flops on, I'm going to get so muddy." Then all the sudden I see Ariel coming and she had my rainboots in her hand. She is the best!

October 15- This morning Monday and I skipped down the road while holding hands and singing Joy to the World. Great way to start the day!

October 17- Tonight Ariel and I made a cake for Grace's birthday. We started at 4pm and now it is 10:30pm and it still isn't done. Turns out we were trying to light stones instead of charcoal. Maybe that is why the cake wouldn't bake! Oops!

October 29- Tonight Grace and I successfully defeated a rat. It was in Grace's shower so she had a broom and stood on her toilet. She hit it out towards me. I was standing on a table with a mop and I flung it outside. So gross, but so proud of us--small victories!

October 31- Today Thomas and I were dueting and dancing to the song "I Love my Life" (an African song). When we were finished he looked at me and said, "Sister, you aren't American. You are now African."
David's favorite pose
November 18- It is really common for kids to bring us fruit, and tonight after rosary David gave me a mango. I took it inside with me and then noticed that he carved "I love Sister T" into the skin of the mango :)

November 21- Today in class I taught P3 how to raise one eyebrow, wink, and curl their tongue. I told them to practice tonight and they will get bonus points if they can do it tomorrow. Such valuable life lessons!

December 13- Today at the clinic there was the cutest little girl who covered her eyes every time I came out onto the veranda. It was the funniest thing. She would see me then immediately put her hands over her eyes and hide behind her mom. Then as she was leaving, I said bye and she got the biggest smile on her face. She kept waving with both her hands and yelling "BYE BYE!" for at least five minutes as they walked away.

My cute little friend, Lino
December 22- Today Lino came up to me and said, "Sister T, today I love you too much." What a little cutie!

January 10- This morning we went to the slums in Kampala. I saw the cutest little girl and held her for a while. I went to paint faces and felt someone holding onto my leg. I looked down and she was standing there. She stayed there the whole time, never letting go, until I was finished and picked her up again.

The little girl I met in the slums-what a blessing!

January 17- Yesterday I told Godfrey I wanted to learn Swahili while I am here in Kenya. Today he brought me 8 pages of English-Swahili words that he wrote for me. He spent all his game time teaching me correct pronunciation. He told me to study the words and he would quiz me tomorrow. (Update- Jan 18- He brought me a paper today and I looked down at it...it was actually a quiz!)

All these little moments with my kids, site partners, and community always brighten my day and make mission what it isI just keep counting my blessings and thanking God for giving me these experiences which truly make me happy!


  1. That's the ticket, Theresa! Keep gathering those happy, fulfilling moments, and thank you for reminding us that every day has its blessings. Christ's Peace, Paula [former SLM in Ethiopia]

  2. Thanks for sharing from your happy journal...I enjoyed those precious moments of your life as a SLM.

  3. Such tributes to you, to be named "Sister Joy" and be told "You are African." You have to be doing a great job as a missioner! And you're picking up in Uganda and Kenya right where you left off in Maridi. Your story about baking a cake on stones reminded me of a time, eons ago, when several of us young SDBs tried to strip a gym floor with a liquid we were given that was supposed to be stripper--but turned out to be mop spray. Worked as well as your stones did on the cake! God bless you (and Ariel).

  4. Your journal entries made me smile and laugh too :) I love you and miss you, my sweet sister!

  5. That rat had no idea who he'd messed with! If it wasn't those mops, it had to have been the shrill pitch of our screams that scared him away....

  6. I'm sure you could have included many more happy moments.......the colorful rainbow over the school, the little child in church that warmed up to you throughout the mass, the smile of a child that you just 'doctored'. Ah, so many joyful moments. Thank you for sharing them with us. We miss you but know that God is in control. Hope you get back to Maridi soon. Love you!