Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Last week, we had the wonderful privilege of hosting two boys from Uganda traveling with a children's choir which sang at our church!

I put a lot of thought into making their time with us enjoyable, it was a blessing to have them in our home! First of all, I wrote a couple of friends who had either been to Uganda or Africa and sought their advice on the type of food eaten there. As I prepared for them to arrive, I was so encouraged at how God brought ideas to my mind.

We received information that the children were accustomed to eating many different kinds of food, but I wanted to treat them to something they were familiar with and may not find much of in America. I haven't traveled out of the country much, but a familiar meal is always something I wanted by the time I came home!

Anna graciously sent me a recipe which I made for dinner and it was a BIG hit! One of our guests ate and ate and ate - it was such a joy to me to see that! And, my little ladies graciously ate every bite of their food without a single complaint or question that it was different!

Chapatis (I made half this recipe and it made 16 chapatis)

6 cups all purpose flour (may mix with whole wheat flour as you please)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 cups warm water (tap water is fine)

Mix all dry ingredients well. Add oil and water and mix thoroughly. Knead until easy to handle. Cover and let rise for at least 15 minutes. Roll out about 6 to 8 inch round tortillas, and fry in a little oil on both sides.

**Note: This video tutorial was extremely helpful!

Curried Beans

2 cups dried pinto beans
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1/2 Tablespoon cumin
2 carrot sticks, sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
Green pepper, chopped
1 8 oz. can tomato soup or sauce

Cook the beans until tender (I used this fast approach for preparing the beans). Fry onion in oil until transparent. Add to beans. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Cover pan loosely and simmer for 45 minutes or so until carrots are tender. Increase or decrease seasonings according to your taste.

Craig mentioned bananas and pineapple, so I worked that into breakfast making French Toast Kabobs inspired by a Martha Stewart Kids magazine. This went over very well too and was fun to eat. This was my first time cutting a pineapple and I appreciated this info on how to cut a pineapple.

Martin and Isaac shared the girls room - so, I wanted to add a few inviting touches in there:

While I was working on putting clean sheets on - I had the girls color pictures to put on each of their pillows:

Then, on the dresser - I put out a couple of Children's Bibles ~ they each spent a lot of time looking at these before bed and again in the morning!

On the chalkboard in our dining room, I drew their flag and wrote 'Welcome' in Lugandan along with their names - I saw Isaac smile when he saw it!

Now, I have to tell a funny story! After dinner, they really wanted to watch a movie - so David set out several for them to choose from. In the end, they went to the shelf and chose Cinderella! You can imagine that this made two little ladies very happy!!! I was in the kitchen cleaning up the dishes and loved hearing all of the laughter from out there! I thought how we may have a hard time understanding each others accents - but laughter is universal!

We enjoyed their concert at church and Emily and Rachel were so excited to see "their boys" and I cannot tell you how having them stay with us enhanced the experience all around. I can hardly wait to do it again!

We were not allowed to give gifts ~ but could make scrapbook pages, which I had waiting for them at their place for breakfast our last morning together!

After having them with us such a short time, I still missed them when they were gone! I am so grateful we had this opportunity!


Anonymous said...

How very precious Monica!!! What a blessing your family was to those sweet boys. Thank you so much for opening your home ,but mostly your HEART!!! This is being the hands and feet of Jesus, true hospitality , how wonderful! tammyp

Robyn said...

That is just lovely. Were they with the Watoto Children's Choir? I'm sure they appreciated the effort you went to to make them feel at home and loved :)

Mary Ann said...

How wonderful for your children to see you going beyond the basics to make this a special welcoming time for the boys.

I'm glad you shared this post and pictures!

Anonymous said...

What a great experience, especially for your children! You are such a great hostess, Monica. I am going to try the bean dish. We love curry!

Ruth, PA

Grace said...

MMM the bean dish looks yummy!!

Wow what a great thing. I have to honestly and embarrassingly say I wouldn't have even volunteered out of shear terror. I would have totally felt out of my element. And I also know what a blessing I would miss too. I am sure the boys were thrilled to have such a sweet family to stay with. You have such a gift of hospitality.

Tracey said...

What a wonderful experience for the boys and your family! I think it is so cute seeing the one boy ride the tricycle. Great Welcome!!!

Kimberlee said...

What an neat experience for your entire family! You are such an amazing hostess! It looks like ALL of the children enjoyed the experience!

mom said...

I loved reading this account of having these two sweet boys stay with you. I especially loved the photo of David taking the children for a walk and Emily holding hands with one of the boys! :) You certainly know how to make the most of an experience! Thanks for sharing -- Love you, Mom

Mother of Many said...

We were able to host some girls in a choir. They were from Uganda and it was such a treat to have them. I wish I had taken as much thought to cook for them as you had. That was so thoughtful. The girls were gracious about what I made, but said they missed curried chicken and rice. You are a very thoughtful host. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I will take the hint next time. I look forward to hosting again.

Danielle said...

Wonderful experiences! We love to do these types of things too:-)

I normally fix food known to our area...but you are they are used to would be welcome after so much travel! and you and your littles can enjoy some of their culture.

Anonymous said...

Monica, you are such a good hostess and home maker and mother. I am going to try to make that bean dish for my family. It looks really good. That is going above and beyond to make their visit more comfortable - the very definition of hospitality. Thank you for setting such an inspiring example!

*carrie* said...


That is such a beautiful gift of hospitality. I think it's wonderful the girls were involved and such a great example to them.

I wonder if I could make a variation of the beans w/out tomato sauce?

Emma said...

We have two friends from Uganda - they were seminarians with my husband - and they were two of the most delightful people I have ever met! It sounds like your two guests were very similar!

All things bright and beautiful... said...

What a beautiful post Monica - you certainly make this world a richer place :)

Wendi said...

How wonderful! I love that you went above and beyond what was expected to make them feel extra special.

You are such a great example for your children!

Tania said...

Wow I too am impressed. The ideas you always have to go above and beyond are so creative!

Thanks for sharing. The pictures were great!

Lee said...

I LOVE this Monica. We have a huge heart for missions in our home, but rarely an opportunity to host missionaries or foreign visitors in our home. I would LOVE to have this opportunity and you certainly blessed those two boys and in turn your girls as well.
This was a blessing. Thanks, Monica!

Katy said...

How absolutely wonderful! What a great experience...for them and you!!! It looks like you really made the effort to make them feel welcome! That is really fabulous! ;)

Wanita said...

What a lovely post, Monica. I'm sure those boys were blessed by all you did to make them feel welcome. And I'm sure your family was blessed by having them in your home as well.

Christy@MercyEveryMorning said...

Your gracious hospitality is always an inspiration to read about!

I have to try the beans and chapatis--looks good! And we love the Jesus Storybook Bible! :)

Amy said...

You are amazing, Monica! What a gift you were to those children. I am constantly inspired by you.

Janna said...

Monica --- I've been a reader for a while and I always enjoy your posts on hospitality and entertaining, but I have to say this one is very special! I spent a couple of weeks in Uganda this summer with World Help, and seeing these boys brought back lots of memories. The Lord has blessed up with potential opportunities to return, and in order to prepare, we will be hosting a married couple from Uganda in a few weeks at our home in Central Ohio! I've been thinking and praying through ways that I can make them feel "at home" even when life in America is so markedly different from the life they are used to in Uganda. Your ideas (namely, the recipes!) are incredibly helpful to me... thanks so much for posting!

~ Janna

Kassandra said...

Wow, that's awesome! It seems to me like you are a perfect candidate to do something like that. You're so crafty, and very involved in whatever you are doing, and I think that's great. I'm betting those boys won't forget their stay at your home for a very long time. :o)

*By the way, I'm Kassandra, and I found you through Rebekah Lewis's blog. I live in Alaska, and knew her for several years. :o)

Katie said...

What a blessing ~ both for your family and for the boys you hosted!! Thanks for sharing this neat opportunity!

Jenn said...

You are one amazing woman. Seriously! I can only imagine what a treasure in your heart to have those boys in your home, sharing their adventures with you and the littles!

Susan said...

What a priviledge to bless these boys. I liked how you reached out to them. Thanks for sharing photos!

Lorna said...

What a fantastic experience for you all - thank you so much for sharing yoru story and the lovely pictures

Deb Burton said...

Your family is a shining example of being gracious hosts. i bet those two boys were just as sorry to leave as you were to see them go!

Linds said...

Your last few post have really strung a chord with me. Thank you. Per your suggestion I've been reading 'A Life that Says Welcome' and have been truly enjoying it. Thank you for continued inspiration.

Tiffany said...

Hey Monica,
I know you don't know me that well, but I read you alot and I have an award for you over at my blog! Come on over!~Blessings!

Barbie@ Mamaology said...

Way to go making them feel so at home and welcome! And what a wonderful experience for your family.

Jennifer said...

We hosted two girls about 10 years ago. They took forever in the bath tub. The adult that was assigned to them that also stayed with us said they never get to sit in that much clean water in Africa. Simple things that we take for granted that mean so much to them. Thank you for going above and beyond to bless those 2 little boys.

Vintage Mommy said...

Reading this brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful opportunity for your family to share your love and your home with these boys.

Monica, I admire how you give credit to Jesus for all of your creative ideas and inspiration. What a beautiful testimony you have. He truly HAS blessed you with a wealth of great ideas, and I can see why--you don't hoard them. You share so freely with others. You'll never know what a blessing you are to all of us who read your blog!

Elise said...

Oh, wow!! How wonderful of an opportunity and great for your girls as well. Love that last photo.

3boysmama said...

How fun!

I know your meal was delicious, but
maybe you are just not accustomed to how boys eat as opposed to girls? =) I have 3 boys and I dread my food bill when they become teenagers --they already eat me out of house and home at ages 5,3,and 9 months!

It sounds like such a fun thing to do for your kids too--exposing them to another culture.

Linda said...

I think I have seen a performance of that same choir, here in Holland! :)

One thing that got me was this:

When you see an ad in the paper of this ugandan orphan choir, you will first think: "these poor kids". You know.. us, being the richest in the world, and they have practically nothing and blah blah.. but the great thing is this.. THEY, in their turn think the same of us!

They think.. ohh, those poor Dutchies, or.. those poor Americans, I feel so sorry for them, since they do not know Christ and aren't AS RICH AS US!

Something to think about really ;)

greetings from holland!

Anonymous said...

Monica, I read the link about cooking the beans - did you simmer on stove for four hours or in a crockpot? That looks delicous and I want to try to make it.

thehomespunheart said...

Hi! I cooked them on the stove for four hours - I already had them in a pot and had that all dirty when I read the Crock Pot part - but that might work just as well! :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Monica:
What a WONDERUL experience for both these boys and your precious family. You are so thoughtful & creative. I would have never thought to prepare food from their country! It all looks so delicious, too.
God Bless you, Sweet Monica for being so generous with your gift of hospitality.
I loved seeing all the pictures!

Love you, Grandma

milissa said...

Thanks for sharing this! I am inspired by kindness...and your blog lifts my heart on a daily basis. :)

annacoumos said...

You are so creative! I bet you made those little guys feel so special. I love the pics of them holding Rachel, and holding hands with Emily:-) They sure look like they are having fun! Glad the recipes worked out.

Christy@MercyEveryMorning said...


I added this post to my Friday Faves...where I've listed my favorite blog finds from the past week. Thanks again for sharing your ideas with all of us. :)

Rebecca said...

What a great post! I am sure Emily will remember this. Thanks for the tip on cutting pineapple it came in handy for me last weekend. :)
Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

LOVE this post! What a great experience and blessing for you, your family, and your guests! I call that Biblical hospitality!

Andrea L.

angie said...

I recalled this post and came back to it for inspiration. We signed up to host children from the Watoto choir over Thanksgiving of this year. I am going to do some more research about them so that I can make their time with us meaningful for all.
In hindsight, is there anything you would recommend doing/not doing?