T. I. A. meaning “This Is Africa” is our latest favorite phrase and life motto It basically means go with the flow, don’t expect anything to go on schedule and just enjoy life.  So T.I.A.- we are finally writing our third post 🙂

Life is going well here in Masindi, Uganda.  We have finally settled in a little bit and have not been traveling as much.  The past couple of weeks we have been here working and enjoying life. Here are a few quick highlights:

The March trip was awesome!  Things went super smooth and the team did amazing work- you should check out the Palmetto Medical Initiative blog to see photos and hear amazing stories!!!  go to: www.palmettomedical.org and click on blog.

After the team left, we were in Kampala (the capital) for a few days and celebrated Michael’s 30th Birthday!  It was great fun we went out to a nice dinner and they turned all the lights off in the restaurant, started singing some song other than happy birthday and brought him a yummy cake.  We also spent time with our friends at Water Missions in Uganda which is a non-profit based out of Charleston, SC.

Also while in Kampala Michael was able to meet with our architect, lawyer, and church officials to continue moving forward with the PMI project!!!

We were also invited to the Ambassador’s house for a wine and cheese event where we met some wonderful people in the Embassy and had lots of fun chatting with cool, interesting people.

We have really enjoyed getting to spend time with the Ambassador and his wife (they are from N.C.) and his son and I studied abroad together in Chile.  They are fantastic and have really shown us southern hospitality in Africa and I even got to go to a pilates class with the Catherine (the wife) who is also a psychologist and massage therapist.  We are going back to Kampala to stay with them this weekend and I will be teaching a little pilates class at their house by the pool 🙂

Sadly we said goodbye to some sweet, wonderful friends we made that have finished their Peace Corps commitment.  Kelly, Baxter, and Eric we love yall and miss you guys already!

Then it was already Easter! We had a great cultural experience!  Our village participates in the “walk of the cross” on Good Friday.  So basically hundreds of people gather together at sunrise and walk 5km carrying wooden crosses.  They walk around and read the story of Jesus before the crucifixion and also stop to pray for schools, the hospital, the police station, and town headquarters.  Then Easter Sunday was a fun church celebration that was about 3 1/2 hours that started an hour late… but remember T.I.A.

Walk of the Cross

We broke ground on the house!  Things are moving right along and we are getting excited about breaking ground on the medical center most likely “a week from Monday.” (T.I.A.) nothing really happens “tomorrow” or “the next day” so you are a little bit safer if you just say it will happen “a week from Monday” 🙂

Building the Foundation

We have also made great, fun new friends!!!  Ned, from Boston, is here drilling water wells and Christine, from Pennsylvania, is here living outside of Masindi working for the Peace Corps.  It has been a super huge blessing and answer to prayers to meet people who are in a similar place in life.

Our latest source of entertainment has been the Kinyara Sugar Plantation Manager’s Club 🙂  We went with Ned and Christine and played golf and relaxed by the pool on Saturday afternoon all for $1 each!!!  Then we hosted our first little cook out and had a fun evening with our cool new friends!


Ned & Michael                               Christine & Amanda

Our fancy charcoal grill

That is about it for now- Thanks so much for your prayers and emails.

Please continue to pray for: Development of the Clinic, Preparing for the May Team, and to continue to see where the Lord is leading us in what he is doing here in Masindi.

The Neighborhood Water Gang


Hey Friends-

Sorry that we have not written in a while-we are adjusting to our new life and the lack o internet and power that we frequently experience and have grown to love (sike…  (that’s mikey’s addition and his spelling)

 We have spent the past weeks in Masindi about 3 hours north of Kampala (the capital) getting settled into our little Bungalow of love at the Masindi Hotel.  Michael has been super busy with meetings everyday since we arrived- from bishops to lawyers to architects etc. there is a lot to be done and he is totally “Gettin ‘er done!”

So a couple of days ago we had our first solo driving experience in Kampala-and  it is like driving in New York city on crack (that would be new york on crack, not us on crack)!

So after we had to dodge multiple cows and goats we then navigated ourselves through Kampala- it is sooo crazy because there are not only cars but wacky bikes, motor cycles and crazy taxi drivers- literally all over the place-  Praise God we made it- mikey even pulled a keeling (really an amanda/emily move)- Throughout the city there are round abouts that are so ridiculously confusing especially while driving on the wrong side of the road!- we were turning the wrong way at a light on the traffic circle, we realized it so i looked behind us and a car was on the way- but not there yet- i was like back this little wagon up because we don’t know what we are doing and people are just going to have to chill- so Mikey backed it up and then we continued on our proper route-  As silly as it sounds it really was a huge accomplishment for us to drive by ourselves not even knowing where we were going… With Mikey’s cat-like reflexes and my navigational mojo- we made it 🙂

So it is only right that I give a little shout out to my sister for teaching me so many good/bad driving manuevers 🙂

That was Wednesday, since then Michael has driven in town all around everyday and is basically an expert (or at least we haven’t wrecked yet!!!)

Okay- that is enough for now- we love yall so much and can’t thank you enough for your prayers!!!  Keep them coming…

ways to pray for us:

-Pray that the paper work and lease agreements go through speedily so that we can start on construction!

-Pray for the team coming on March 5-that they may be able to love and serve the people as well as be able to receive anything that God is doing in their hearts!!

-Pray that we can find a reliable internet source

-Pray that God would continue to mold and shape us as individuals as well as a couple so that we can better serve and love Him and His people!!

Here are a few photos just to give you a little peek…

Here is our local Harris Teeter 🙂

Michael and Amanda in the Bungalow

An aerial view of our trusty little wagon 🙂

We Have Arrived…

Hi Friends!

So- this is my first blog experience!  Yeah for Hannah for setting all of this up for Michael and I!  We are here in Uganda now.  After 30hours of traveling it is so nice to be off of the plane and in a warm, tropical spot.  We are staying a few days in Kampala at the WaterMissions Headquarters to do some work here and then we will cruise to Masindi.  Preparing for our move I really experienced and realized the simple truth that “when we are weak, He is strong.”  I spoke with a few friends about this realization before we left.  This morning when we came out for breakfast at the McNutt’s house there was a devotion printed out on a piece of paper titled: “Power In Weakness”

How sweet is the Lord!

“He said unto me, My strength is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will rather glory in my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I will take pleasure in weakness: for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9,10

Andrew Murray writes, “The error is that people estimate their weakness, not too highly, but to meagerly…We think that we have still a little strength, and that the Father must help us by adding something of His own power to our feeble energy.  This thought is wrong!”

How silly of us to go through life thinking if God will just add a little of His strength onto mine… I must admit- I live like that most of the time.  This move and new experience is showing us that not only do we need God’s strength but that we also truly want it.   There is such freedom when we look to Him and forget about ourselves.   Weakness is clearly the new black!

We really want to say thanks to all of you for the amazing way that you have loved us and shown us the heart of Christ!  We can’t express enough how much we appreciate your generosity, encouragement, prayers, and love!  We feel so encouraged and loved by our family, our friends, and our sweet Lord!!

Much love to you all!

Michael and Amanda

Hey there, everyone!

It’s Hannah Alexander, just testing out the blog for Michael and Amanda. As I write they are in transport to Masindi, Uganda!!! Let me tell you firsthand from one who has taken this trip, the travel itself is enough to need some serious prayer!

Hopefully once the O’Neals reach Africa and get settled into Masindi Hotel (where they will be living for the next month or so while their house is rebuilt) they will give us some updates!

In the meantime, let’s all PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

I thought it might be nice to see some photos of their new home:

(this is on the pathway to get to their house!!)

(still headed to their house… isn’t this gorgeous???)

(some of their new neighbors!)

Acts 6:4

But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word

1 Timothy 4:12

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity

Psalm 138: 8

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands