"So many things happen in a day: interesting, funny, sad, inspiring - We just have to share them! The moments of the days add up to an awesome lifetime." PJMCN

Friday, April 17, 2015


Once again we find ourselves almost ready to leave for the airport.

There was a time when I would stare at the jet trails in the sky, and wish it was me. Now, well, its a different story. 

We are in the planes making the jet trails. Not as frequently as some, but more than I want. 

There is just no other way to travel the world in a hurry. 

So we book tickets. The agent makes mistakes and then says it is up to us to check closer. We pay the extra money her mistake cost us. What can we do , this is a developing country and sometimes the PR is lacking. 

We find out how much luggage we are allowed. Of course it has changed, from 3 at 70lbs, to 3 at 50 lbs, to 2 at 50lbs. So we put away the oversize luggage, and buy totes. They weigh the least. 

Then we pack, re-pack, and okay, re-pack again. The breakable gifts have to be wrapped in clothing, the tea and coffee wrapped in plastic, and the pile of "Well, guess I really don't need that " gets higher. Meanwhile, all this last minute flurry is in a cramped guest house room. 

We realize a few things got left behind, a full days drive away. it will just have to stay there.  

The sweat pours off  , we stand on a bathroom scale holding a suitcase, while one of us peers under the case to see if we are on target. The hand held scale  broke last time we used it.  Eventually, with a little shifting, we are more or less on target. We pray the agent will be merciful regarding a few pounds. We say, "Okay, next time we are not taking stuff."  yeah right. 

We stay up late , as you can't book your seat  until 24 hours before you fly. So a late night flight means a late night seat booking, when what you really need is an early night's sleep! 

So, heading into an 8 hour flight, and a 12 hour layover, then a 9 hour flight, you hang around the guest house, napping? restless? rechecking that you have your passports, and ticket? wondering if you put in your pyjamas or left them with the sheets that went to the laundry. The day passes very slowly. 

Finally, its time to leave for the airport. A wild ride in a van through heavy traffic, three hours to wait to board, ( a requirement for international flights) and you are up, up and away! 

Making jet trails in the sky! 
Down below, a small child looks up, saying: 
" I wish it was me! "

Have a glamorous flight, wont'cha! 

PJ McNeal 

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Welcome to a Funeral!

We are at a funeral . We arrived and were immediately, after hugging the widowed pastor, invited to wash our hands and eat rice and stewed beef. That done, we proceeded out of the newly constructed house to the compound. In Kuria, a body cannot be buried on a plot of land. There must be a house, and the deceased must “sleep” there at least one night. The pastor had been living elsewhere, so this week before the funeral of his wife, he quickly constructed a house. Poles and mud with a mabati roof and a choo. (toilet) went up in a few days. He is a well loved pastor, one of our alumni, and his sweet wife and himself were in a motorcycle accident. She suffered a broken leg, and was doing well, then 17 days later just suddenly died. Very tragic.

We are now seated in a huge sweet potato field. It surrounds the house. It is very hilly, so we sit very carefully in plastic chairs that are not meant for dirt. We are slightly uphill in front, and slightly downhill to the side. We just hope they don’t flip or fold!

We are downwind from the coffin. It’s  been out of the morgue since yesterday morning so that it could “sleep “ here one night. The temperature has been 30+ C  or 90F. However, someone sits by the coffin to help with those who want to view the body, and also to spray room spray as needed.

The program gives a long list of who will speak, so we are going to be here awhile. Endurance of long events is a requirement of missionary life. We sit. Of course it’s mostly in Kuria, sometimes with translation into Swahili. We miss most of what is said. We get the “gist” as our friend who came with us gives us an update now and then. We are under an awning which is nice.

The place is packed! All the open space outside the awning, and in the center in front of us, is filling up. People stand, and sit. It is amazing how long people can sit on the ground with their legs straight out in front of them! Children climb any available tree. People of all ages attend,  dressed in their best.
One man comes in leading a group of other men. They proceeded right to the coffin, pray, and salute.   They march over to the “honor” seating, a lime green couch. Bob wondered if the man was as important as he thought he was. Turns out we know him! He is a polygamist who recently chased his second wife away for not having children.

The grave has been dug close by,  the dirt and rocks are beside it. Several small children play in the dirt.
The grave is very deep, the first 5 feet or so lined with brick, and then the bottom 5 feet lined with white tile. This is a new, modern grave. But there are no frills, like fake green “grass” carpeting, it’s all dirt and rocks around at the top. It is situated by the house. On the way to the toilet.

There are such changes! In the old days, we always had soda. Warm soda. Now, bottled water has arrived in Kenya so we are handed that throughout the long day. We really appreciate it as neither of us are soda drinkers anymore. By this time, we have been sitting for 2 ½ hours! 4 of the 12 categories of speakers have finished. Then the burial will take place.

There are 2 video cameras going, so they have anyone who speaks stand in the middle, in front of the coffin, which resides on a coffee table, in the bright sun, so as to get good video! The heat bothers no one, and some ramble on and on. And on. It is Kenya, after all, and the sun always shines! 
We are told some of the tributes: the father in law of the deceased said she was the best wife, and if all women could be like her, the world would be a better place. She had been married at the age of 14, as soon as she finished grade 8.

Woahhhhhh……my chair just succumbed to the terrain and began to tip! I sensed it was going, and leaped up, so as not to somersault into the people behind me. Everyone around said sorry  as Bob helped reestablish my chair. I will now perch very precariously , we only have about 4 more hours to go.

The choirs here mostly don’t sing. They record cd’s, play them and lip sinc and do all manner of gyrations and motions, not necessarily having anything to do with the words of the song. To make up for poor recordings, they turn up the volume! We were glad there were only two choirs for the event.

After the wide assortment of relatives speak, the friends and church people have their time. All saying mostly what they were able to do for the deceased.

However, a really good thing that happened, the family of the deceased spoke. There were 5 children, older, and two of the sons gave glowing tribute not only to their mom but to God. Seems their parents have raised them well and they are living a good life. The pastor also gave a great tribute to his wife. One of the relatives had said that the pastor was “ Now young again, so our clan has another wife for you!” The pastor said he is not young, and will seek God’s will for his life, not rushing to remarry! The tribute of the family was in three languages, so we got to hear most of what was said. It is not often that a whole family will speak. Sometimes really bad things are said, which was new to us when we first came.

A dog wanders into the center, seeking shade. The table where the coffin rests provides a shady spot, but the dog is soon chased away.
The day gets hotter. Umbrellas spring up everywhere, as some succumb to  sleep. According to our friend who gives the updates, he says nothing!  Now and then a cell phone rings. Finally, the speaker of the day delivers a very loud but powerful sermon. There is a time of prayer for the family. An offering is taken, and then they begin to introduce the politicians. There are about 6 of them!

 At this time, having been here 7 hours, we feel we can leave. The body will be buried before dark, but we have been defeated by the heat and precarious seating. We go home. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Here we are, high on a hill in Uganda, just outside of Kampala, towards Entebbe. 
It is amazing what being up a few floors does for your outlook!

 We love that we can look down to the busy road, then up to the hillside across from us. It is covered in red roofed houses, and at night, a great display of lights. 
The house we are in was recently painted, and looks beautiful! 
There are lots of stairs, as you can see, and they help keep us in shape! 

One of the very best things here, as far as view is concerned, is the sun coming up every morning over the hillside! 

We hope you have a good view, no matter where you are, of what really counts in life! We can get so narrow minded and near sighted, we need to rise above our troubles look up! 

Truly, out Redemption draws near, as surely as every morning there will be a sunrise, whether we see it or not! 

Here's hoping you have an uplifted view! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Sometimes life just puts you be where you don't want to be, doing what you don't want to be doing. 

In a church where we were teaching, this wee one was dragged in by a sister and plunked on the bench. She was not impressed. In fact, she later escaped out the back. The joy of a church with no walls or doors! Her garment was an artfully tied colorful cloth. When she stood, it came to her ankles. (When she showed up the next day, she was minus the garment! ) 

I think of situations where I felt constrained!  Such as  a very very  long day at a funeral. To save time,we asked that there be no interpretation, so we had 6 hours of a language we don't know, and it wasn't  Swahili!  My clothes became irritating, the chair was bothersome, the day got hot. 
Like this little girl, my face soon registered my discomfort. However, adulthood constrains us! Walls constrain us! Events constrain us!

In it all, I am learning  to find a focus outside myself, and dwell on that. In the cases of being "trapped in a crowd" I focus on the faces. It is my guess that I am not the only uncomfortable one! I wonder about how their life is, and what is happening in it! 

I focus on when it will be over. I imagine getting home to ice water in a glass, cool clothes on my back, my own beat up but comfortable chair, and oops, there I am , focusing back on me! 

Children are self absorbed, and that is not where I want to spend my days. 
It is so easy to spend my days thinking of me and my needs. 

I really need to start the day and end the day with prayers and deeds that bless those around me. Even in funerals, or functions, I can focus on praying for those around me. 

Unless of course, I am given the option of shedding all, and escaping out the back! 

O Lord, let my life be a lot less thinking of me, and whole lot more focused on You! 

Monday, December 10, 2012








Hope your progress forward is greater than any hindrances  that come along to slow you down! 
On your journey to Heaven, we hope you can laugh at the things that get in your way, so the journey, no matter how long or slow, is just a whole lot of JOY in the process! 

Big hugs to all, Paulette and Bob

Monday, September 3, 2012



We have been travelling! Uganda, Kenya,Canada, U.S.A. !

As we go through the days, weeks, and months, we are busy, but never too busy to stop and reflect on all the wonderful things God has given us to enjoy.......

Like family ! As our children have grown , got their educations, jobs, families, we are  blessed at how well they manage their lives! 

We feel like, yes, after all, we did make the right choices in how we raised them! In spite of our shortcomings,they are doing fine!

As we have had a time of sorting out old photos, the memories are overwhelming! Holidays, birthdays, major event days at school!
At one time, I had all these photos in very organized albums, then into a box, without the albums, and now, onto my computer: but always, always, in our hearts. 
Going through them all, a lifetime passed before my eyes. It went so fast, the days ,the months, the years! 

Now it is the grandchildren speeding by! 
Some learning to walk, to read ! Some in university! ! Plans for future careers! We are thankful for any days we have together, and don't regret the events we have missed, we are just enjoying the moments to the full! 

The secret to not being over whelmed by nostalgia: enjoy the moment, the day, the year! 
This is a skill we learned early, and have it fine-tuned! 

So as I write this, our oldest son and his wife are cleaning living room windows, I listen to their conversation, and enjoy the pragmatic moment! The vacuum cleaner hums, the moment is homey! 
I love it, and will tuck it away, for when we are far away, Canada, Kenya, Uganda!!!

We pack the memories very carefully into our hearts! They don't crease if you fold them right! 
 Living the moments makes the following statement soooo true:




              Bob and Paulette


Wednesday, July 4, 2012




The missionary heartbreak is so many good friends and co-workers in so many places! We have to say good bye soooooo often! 
This is a little mini album of the friends we had to say good bye to! Just a few of those who work in the fields of people God loves. 

I have literally thousands of photos of our other friends, the national Kenyans, Ugandans, and Tanzanians who are the fruit of the ministries of those who choose to "GO!"    

But this note today is just about the ones we labor together with, who have given up home country , families, and cultural comforts to work somewhere else, because Bob and I are so thankful to them all. 

These are just a few of the friends who have prayed us through hard times,(stolen vehicles,compuers, and funds, )  rejoiced with us over victories, (3 heart attacks and cancer) and laughed uproariously along with us as we  make blunders and mis-communications. 
We commiserate over things we could have done better, times we could have tried harder, and times when we feel like we are getting nowhere! 

These are some of our  family of the field! 
We see each other sporadically, Kyle and Laura work in northern Uganda, Dennis and Darlene work in Uganda and Canada, Phil and Starlene work in Kenya,(Nairobi to Garissa to Orma) , Donnie and Hughena work in Kenya (Lake Victoria) and Canada, and the McNeals? Well, you know about us, a little Tanzania, a bit more Uganda, and mostly Kenya. 

We are thankful God has given us co labourers, and such dear ones! We help each other with natural stuff, like meals together, shared homes, airport carting and hauling, running errands, and so much more. 

So, for anyone taking the time to look at this page, just know that we really need one another out here. And the good byes are never easy, even though the hellos! to our families in Canada and the States are awesome, we also have to say good bye to them. 

GOODBYE, HELLO!  this is the echo in our hearts, and it never gets easier, but it is little enough to pay for the awesome privilege of sharing God's message to a hurting world! 

Come out sometime, and see the needs, they are vast and varied! 

Who knows, you too might be called into the world of
       Goodbye! -Hello!

Love and Blessings, Paulette and Bob