Hi, my name is Elijah Varga, now i know all my teachers told me never to start a paper like that, but what the heck, this is my website and i do what I want . Anyways, I am seventeen years old, and am a missionary in Uganda, Africa. I am from the United States, in Oregon. I come from a family of seven boys, and one girl, i am number seven, i have one little brother and six older siblings (for those of you who are *ahem*math challanged*ahem*). When I first found out that we were going to go to Uganda, I was like, absolutely not. No way, no how am i going to AFRICA. Yet here i am. How did this happen? Well the only way that could have changed my mind: the LORD. Durring worship one night at my church Athey Creek Christian Fellowship, (ACCF) we were singing a song, about how He gave His live for us, now I will give my life to You. and it hit me. Since Jesus gave His life for me, the least I can do is give it right back to Him by going to Uganda and helping these kids. So, that's my story in a nutshell. I've been in Uganda for almost 5 months now, and i'm loving it. You will find that I have written other blogs, at www.vargamission.com go to blogs, and then kids blogs and you should find some by me. God Bless
|Posted by Elijah Varga on May 1, 2010 at 10:51 AM||comments (0)|
Easter and April Fools
The month of April is always a fun month, with the combination of Easter and April Fool’s Day it’s usually a month filled with candy and laughs. Now normally I don’t really do April fools,but this year I made an exception; mostly because this year I remembered in advanced. Easter was also different this year, probably because I’m in Uganda though I could be wrong. One of the fun things about being in a different country is that holidays are very different. Take Christmas for example, in America Christmas is all about snow, eggnog, and presents. Here in Uganda, Christmas weather is usually in the sixties at the lowest, eggnog is out of the question,and no one gets very many presents by American standards. Like Christmas,Easter and April fools here is very un-American.
March 31st, I was reminded by Jill, our friend from America that came and stayed with us for a month, that tomorrow was April first, so I began to scheme. At first I was going to put cyan peppers in my little brother’s toothbrush or his toothpaste, but then I thought better; he would probably get really upset, so I let the night go on. At about midnight, the power went out,and I thought my plans were spoiled, but then everyone went to bed early. I knew what I had to do, and I got the idea from my dad. One year on April fools,my dad tied all of the kid’s shoes together by the shoelaces so I was determined to do the same, but there was a problem: I was the only one with shoes that had laces, everyone else had flip flops. But duct tape saved the day again! I got my duct tape and duct taped everyone’s shoes except mine into a big duct tape blob, and hid them in the pantry, and not a minute too soon,right as I finished the power came back on and my dad came out to see what all the noise was, and I told him I was just eating chips. After all that I went to bed. I woke up the next morning and got started on my school like everything was just peachy, knowing all the while that they would have to leave eventually, and wouldn’t be able to find their shoes. Sure enough, my patience paid off in the end. They searched for their shoes for about half an hour before finally exclaiming in exasperation, “Where are our shoes?” I simply made the suggestion that maybe they were in the pantry. Pretty soon I hear some laughing from the pantry. After that they left,but the day of pranks wasn’t over for me yet. I had one more in plan, this time just for Jill. I took her tooth brush and dipped it in the cyan pepper I was talking about. I then put it back where I had found it and I waited.Unfortunately, though fortunately for Jill, she had a different toothbrush that she used. She admitted that she didn’t know what I had done, but she had just used another toothbrush.
April fool’s came and went and before long Easter was just around the bend. Easter in America is the Easter bunny, Easter egg hunts, and chocolate, not so in Uganda.We got up and went to church where we had an awesome time at church. We met a US Marine named Kurtis, and he is awesome (he looks just like David Frost, if you know him). Anyways we took him out to lunch, and then we went to Hope where the kids were thoroughly and completely stuffed. Easter for them is simply a huge feast. They eat more on Easter and Christmas than any other days of the year. Easter here is simply simplistic. Simple is awesome, and I don’t thing America understands that. In America we try to make everything as fun as possible, with as many events as possible, and these kids just get food and they are content. Americans could definitely learn something from Ugandans, I know I have.
This April has definitely been a good one for me. April fool’s was awesome and funny, and Easter was surprisingly simplistic and amazing.
|Posted by Elijah Varga on April 3, 2010 at 4:07 PM||comments (2)|
Hi, my name is Elijah Varga, now i know all my teachers told me never to start a paper like that, but what the heck, this is my website and i do what I want :D. Anyways, I am seventeen years old, and am a missionary in Uganda, Africa. I am from the United States, in Oregon. I come from a family of seven boys, and one girl, i am number seven, i have one little brother and six older siblings (for those of you who are *ahem*math challanged*ahem*). When I first found out that we were going to go to Uganda, I was like, absolutely not. No way, no how am i going to AFRICA. Yet here i am. How did this happen? Well the only way that could have changed my mind: the LORD. Durring worship one night at my church Athey Creek Christian Fellowship, (ACCF) we were singing a song, about how He gave His live for us, now I will give my life to You. and it hit me. Since Jesus gave His life for me, the least I can do is give it right back to Him by going to Uganda and helping these kids. So, that's my story in a nutshell. I've been in Uganda for almost 5 months now, and i'm loving it. You will find that I have written other blogs, at www.vargamission.com go to blogs, and then kids blogs and you should find some by me.
|Posted by Elijah Varga on March 3, 2010 at 12:06 PM||comments (0)|
Happy Day, Unhappy Pig
On the morning of February 6th, the day of my celebrated birthday, I got up early, heavy with anticipation of the big day. Ever since I missed the Christmas pig being killed, I had wanted to see a pig get killed, and so I had asked for just that for my birthday; to get to watch a pig get killed, and now the day had finally come and I was totally psyched. It was raining pretty hard that day, so I got my jacket on, for the first time since I’d been in Uganda, I got my rubber boots on and was ready to go. Half an hour later we were on the road headed for Hope to see my pig be slaughtered, skinned, cleaned, and cooked.
We got there and saw ‘Mr. Piggy’, as Peter the Painter called him, laying still on the ground, and our immediate thought was, oh no we’re too late, but then we saw it twitch and that was a relief to find that it wasn’t already dead. We got out of the car and went into Hope, where I was greeted by Pastor Prossy, who sang “Happy Birthday” to me followed by “How Old Are You Now?” sung to the same tune, which was a little weird, because I am used to just happy birthday, but hey this is Africa and they do it different here. After being sung to, I went over to see the pig, which was hog tied lying on the ground. Then I hung out with the Hope kids for about half an hour until it was time for the main event.
I watched as Mr. Piggy was led into the goat stalls, where a thin layer of sheet metal was lying on the ground, followed by a group of about ten guys, my dad and I among them. I can only imagine what the pig was thinking, “Man this is so much better than my last home, I mean I even have my own posse.” Little did it know its morbid fate: death. When everyone was in the goat stall, the tools of the pig’s demise were taken out. The first was a silver knife, dull as could be, was handed to me before being given to Peter,who decided that it was too dull. Because it was too dull they decided to get a cabinet filer to sharpen it. Once it was only a lot dull, they proceeded to bring out the next tool: a dull, rusty machete. Now that all were there and mildly sharp, we were ready to start.
The reason for all the guys that came into the stall became much more clear as we started:killing a pig was a team effort, a couple of the guys held the back legs, a couple held the front legs, and Peter held the ears. I held my breath as the event finally started. Peter took the silver knife and started sawing the pig’s neck, at which point the pig made the most grotesque squeal I had ever heard,like it was well dying, which it was. Blood squirted out as peter continued to cut, I had to jump back to keep from getting covered in pig blood, Peter didn’t even flinch, in fact he started singing happy birthday to me, it was actually quite hilarious. He proceeded to cut all the skin around the head and all the muscle surrounding the neck, then he handed me the knife and told me “For some snaps” which I thought meant snap its spine, but what he really meant was for pictures. Anyways after he got the knife back he took the machete and broke the spine. After the body stopped twitching, the put the pig head in a bucket, and brought some boiling hot water and poured it on the pig, and then they started skinning it. Peter used the machete, Bosco used the silver knife, and some of the younger boys used razor blades. At this point I left for a little bit because it smelled pretty bad with all the hair that was wet and it stunk. When I got back they had finished shaving it and they had begun removing the insides. This part was actually very cool, because it was like a biology lesson, instead of dissecting a fetal pig we dissected a grown pig. I got to see the intestines, the liver, the lungs, and I got to hold the heart.
After the whole pig episode was done, I went over to the Stirns house for a while to wait for the pig to be ready to eat. About two hours later we came back and they had all the food ready for us to eat, pork, rice, and beans. It was very good actually. The best part of the whole ordeal was seeing how happy it made the kids at Hope. They get pork, maybe once or twice a year, and so this was super special for them, and I know every bit of that pig got eaten by those kids.
I have to say that this year, my birthday was definitely the most unique birthday I’ve ever had. Most years for my birthday I plan on getting tons of gifts, and money and things for me, and every year it’s all about me, but this year it was different; this year it was all about the Hope kids. The thing about gifts, money, and things that I want for me is that they always break, are lost, or spent, but the gift I was given this year was not one of this earth it was one of giving to others. My birthday this year was probably one of my best birthdays yet, and the theme of my birthday this year was that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
|Posted by Elijah Varga on February 9, 2010 at 1:02 PM||comments (0)|
As of February 7th, I have been in Uganda for three months. In the three months that I’ve been here, I’ve seen the Lord work in so many ways it’s crazy.Uganda is a place in the world that is hungry for the Lord. Through these three months I’ve been flooded with unfamiliar sights, strange foods, and horrible roads that have reminded me that I’m not in America anymore. But every once in a while, the Lord shows me that it’s alright, and that this is where he wants me.
The most recent of these happenings occurred three days ago on my birthday celebration.It happened right before we were about to leave Hope Children’s Home. I was walking out the door of the Home when Joy, the woman who does our laundry and also helps around at Hope, called me over to her. I went over to her and she asked me if I had ever read about the widow who had so very little, but gave anyway, and I told her that I had. Then she told me that she was doing that right now, and she handed me a two hundred piece (worth about 10 cents). I gave her a hug and thanked her, and as I was walking away I saw that she was smiling as she was picking up the garbage out of the road.
Another thing happened that warmed my heart right after the Show Mercy Team had left.My Dad, my Mom, and I went to Hope to pick up some things that the team had left there, and I came along to spend time with the kids. When I got there , much to my surprise, I was mobbed. I was literally attacked with hugs.The team had left and the kids were feeling down, but when they saw me they must have realized that we were staying longer, so they jumped on me and gave me huge hugs. Then when I was going to leave, probably ten of the kids were determined that I was going to sleep there tonight, though I knew I wasn’t going to. We left about an hour after we came, and I felt refreshed as we left.
The team came a while ago, and I was touched by the Lord a couple times while they were here. One of the Sundays we went to churches to teach, and I went to Bethel church, which is the church at Hope, and I gave my testimony of how I got there and how I love it here, and I couldn’t help crying as I saw how God had moved my heart and molded me over the last couple of years. Also when we were feeding the kids in Kaliti, there was a girl, a little one, and she stayed with me the whole time, either sitting in my lap or sitting next to me or standing next tome, and when she smiled her face lit up.
Before the team arrived, one day when I was at Hope I was holding one of the little girls,named Susan Dafney, and I was carrying her around all over the compound for about an hour, and so I was getting tired, so I sat down on one of the benches,and started talking with a few of the girls that had gathered around me. Not ten minutes after I had sat down, Susan was asleep in my arms, and I didn’t notice at all until one of the girls took her from me and took her to the girl’s room to sleep in her bed. I continued to play with the other girls that were there, and it wasn’t until the next time that we came that I saw little Susan again, and when she saw me she ran and jumped on me and was screaming with excitement. She yelled ecstatically for about ten minutes while I held her.
In these moments I can see through the haze that is Uganda, that the Lord is with me and wants me here. Whenever I start feeling homesick, which happens a ton by the way, I look to these events that the Lord has given me to withstand the desire for a Carl’s Jr. Double Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger that so haunts me in these burger forsaken lands, or my yearning to give my friends back home all hugs and to see and talk to them again. These moments like little Susan falling asleep in my arms, Joy giving me the two hundred piece, and the kids attacking me with hugs after the team left; these moments are what help me to survive in Uganda.
|Posted by Elijah Varga on December 18, 2009 at 1:19 PM||comments (0)|
Answered Prayer Provides Preparation
Recently I’ve been looking back through my personal journal where I write down all my prayers, feelings, problems, and thoughts, and I’ve come across some things that just astounded me. I have found prayers that I wrote down nearly two years ago that the Lord has totally answered far beyond what I was asking. For example I wrote this when I was still a tiny Frosh, “I also pray that you would show me how to treat children ty (thank you).” When I wrote that I was totally awkward with kids; wow, THAT has changed! I find it so amazing how God answers prayer in such extreme ways.
Not long after I wrote in my journal, asking the Lord to show me how to treat children,my brother Cody started working with the two year olds at our church. Of course when I saw that my big brother was doing it, I thought, if Cody can do it; then certainly I can do it. So I talked to James, the Children’s Pastor at our church, Athey Creek Christian Fellowship,and he set me up in the one year olds classroom. Then, I found out that one of my best friends, Shannon, also was stationed there. As I started working with the children I fell in love with them, their unique little personalities, their curiosity, but most of all how their faces lit up when they laughed. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was being trained by God for something much bigger.
A few years ago I went on a mission’s trip with my Youth Group. The trip was dubbed “La Supriso” because our leader Jim, a scholar in Spanish I’m sure, said that when introducing it, and the name stuck. Anyways on the missions trip we went down to Mexico to serve disabled orphans, and we were all encouraged to write in our journals what the Lord was doing in us. So I wrote in it day by day what we were doing and what was on my mind.When I reread what I had written on the second day of the “La Supriso” trip it popped out to me. I had written, “Lord, I’ve rejected the idea of Uganda from the beginning, because I liked a girl and didn’t want to leave, but I never stopped to ask you. I feel my mom and dad have found their purpose in Uganda, but what about me? Do I belong there? Is your will for me there?” Oh, how God changed my heart! I don’t know if it’s noticeable to anyone else, but I remember writing that with a knot in my stomach determined not to go, but here I am in Uganda,and I am happier than can be when I’m around those kids!
Most of my friends describe me as “wild, crazy, and kind of a do anything that seems dangerous or would make people laugh kind of guy.” The last thing that most of my friends would describe me as is shy. But the truth is, for most of my life I’ve been very shy, I mean in seventh grade, I would sit on the stair steps, on Wednesday night while everyone else played games, and I would read my Bible until it was time for the study, and everyone would go upstairs. In eighth grade I stopped going to the Jr. High group and just went to the normal services on Wednesday nights. When I was old enough to go to the Shed on Thursdays, I would go and sit on a bench, in the same spot, and I would wait; while everyone else was playing games and having a blast, I would sit and watch. I would wait until the service started and then when it ended, I would get up, and walk around until it was time to go. It was an hour before Thursday night and I opened up my journal to write, I made a request to God that was answered dramatically, I wrote, “Lord I pray that you would give me someone to talk to or something to do, so I don’t have to sit alone on the steps watching. Lord I pray that I could be just friends with them.” About a month later I went on a trip with the Youth group that brought me out of my shell. I don’t know how, but it did. The Spring Break trip of ’08, I brought a puzzle to do, but I didn’t finish it, and I’m pretty sure that that was a first. God answered my request for someone to talk to me by giving me probably thirty or forty brothers and sisters in Christ that I consider to be my best friends in the world.
God changed me so radically, and I believe that was preparing me for Uganda too. God’s plan for me here isn’t to be shy, and it isn’t to be quiet. His plan for me is to show these kids here in Africa His love by loving on them with everything I have. I’m just realizing right now that the two years of putting off moving to Africa had a definite purpose. In all God’s wisdom, He knew that I wasn’t ready for it; He has been preparing me for two years to be ready to show these Ugandan kids His amazing love for them. Never in my whole life has the statement “God’s commandments are His enablement’s” been truer than it is right now here in Uganda. Oh! God is so good!!!
|Posted by Elijah Varga on November 30, 2009 at 12:38 PM||comments (0)|
Wow! I’ve been here over a week now and that is one word that I keep saying. We’ve moved into our house, and I finally have my room. I’ve been to the Field of Dreams where I helped stake out where I’m going to be living, I’ve been to Hope and met the sweetest kids you’ll ever meet, and I’ve been out into traffic that worried my mom half to death. So far my experience in Uganda has been pretty crazy. (Wow, I feel like Bobby Pen dragon writing a journal.)
When we arrived in Uganda I was greeted by a friendly Ugandan, who I learned was our driver, by Doug and Debbie, who are two short term missionaries, and by Richard, another short term missionary. We got into a van and traveled for about an hour to Hotel Ivory, where we brought our bags up to our rooms and fell into bed asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows. We woke up and had a delicious breakfast of French toast (Ugandan style), and then we were picked up by Danny Stirn and taken to his house. We stayed at his house and watched Star Wars, and stayed there until about 9:00 P.M. Unfortunately jet lag hit about 7:00 P.M. and so we were totally exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel at like 10:00P.M. The next day was about the same, except instead of eating at the Stirns,we ate at the hotel where I had chicken and a bunch of other people had Tilapia(a whole fish), but the Tilapia was totally burnt, like to a crisp. The day after that I went to the Field of Dreams.
At the Field of Dreams we staked out all the buildings and I had my first taste of goat! They butchered a goat and put pieces of it on a stick and cooked it over a fire, so when the guy gave me a piece I had to try it. What I wasn’t expecting was him to also hand me the knife and the stick with the food on it. I walked around for like half an hour holding the stick not knowing what to do with it. Finally Richard told me just to put it back over the fire, and so I did. By the end of that day I was exhausted and my neck was totally sun burnt, because I had forgotten to put on sunscreen, not the smartest move on my part. When we got back to the hotel we had dinner. This time we got peppered steak and spaghetti (we had learned from the tilapia disaster the night before to have them cook it when we got there), and they were very good. The next day we went to Hope.
Hope Children’s Home was an experience in itself. It’s hard to describe the feelings that I felt while I was there, but I’ll try. We got there and the kids were still in school, but we were greeted by a couple four year old kids, of course I don’t know how old they are but I want to say they were four, who said, “Hi Mazungu!” (Mazungu means wondering white guy). When break time came we were mobbed. That’s right, mobbed, because there is no other way to describe it, I was grabbed by probably twenty hands of little children just wanting to be loved.These kids are adorable, plain and simply adorable, and I swear I felt like a celebrity. After their break was over, the kids went back to class, and we played soccer keep away (Lani and I agreed it was like a tangible versions of signs). I totally schooled one of the kids; it was awesome, what happened was he was trying to keep it away from me and he had his foot over the ball, and I totally kicked it out from underneath him, like I said: it was awesome. There is no doubt he is better at soccer, but I know how to play signs. Anyways after that we kind of just chilled until my parents got back, but in the mean time I decided to play some Family Force 5, and one of the little African kids was rocking out to it, I was playing “Drama Queen” on my iPhone. (John I thought you would appreciate that) The next few days we spent settling into our new home.
|Posted by Elijah Varga on November 6, 2009 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
A Long Journey
My name is Elijah Varga; I’m sixteen years old and on my way to Uganda, Africa with my sister, Leilani, my little brother, Gabe,and our parents; Alisa and Randy Varga. I’ve lived in Lake Oswego, Oregon my entire life, and thought I would stay in LO for my whole life, but Jesus haddifferent plans for my life; radically different plan.
The whole story that has changed my future drastically started in my mom’s friend’s car; she would take me home from Wednesday night Bible study, because I didn’t like to stay after the service, and she left earlier than my parents did. During this ride home Jill and I were talking about Africa because she had been drawn there by a commercial I believe, and I encouraged her to go and said that was awesome, but little did I know how much this event would affect my life in the future.
Jill went to Uganda, and I thought nothing of it, a year in June of 08, my parents took their first trip to Uganda, while my sister and I were on a High School Mission’s trip to Mexico.That trip was one of the most amazing times of my life, and during that trip Lani came up to me and told me that God had confirmed in her heart that she was going to Uganda, I said that that was awesome, but I wasn’t as sure as she was.Not another word was spoken on the subject during the trip.
Life went on, and as summer came to a close, my mom threw a huge surprise my way: we were going to be home schooled. My first reaction was anger; I didn’t want to be home schooled! I wanted to go to LOHS and be with my friends that I had gone to school with since Kindergarten, but my revolution was crushed by the evil dictator, also known as my dad. Everyone in my family was on board for going, except me. Weeks went by, and I refused to show even the slightest interest in going to Uganda.
Then the Lord changed my heart. It was a Wednesday night, and everyone singing, Because of Your Love, and it came to the part that goes like this:
“Innocent and Holy king
You died to set the captive free
All because of your love
Lord you gave your life for me
So I will give my life for you”,
and as I was singing those words, the Lord spoke to me and told me that, because he gave his life for me, I was to go to Africa and give my life to them; to help them.
Now I’m just waiting to get the tickets to fly down there, and I’m super excited for the changes that are going to come soon.
|Posted by Elijah Varga on November 4, 2009 at 1:10 PM||comments (0)|
When my parents told me that we were going to Uganda I simply didn’t want to go. There is a part of me that still doesn’t want to go. The idea of going somewhere halfway around the world scares the heck out of me. Knowing about all the disease and death in Africa, and that I’m going to be a part of it literally makes me wet my pants with fear. But nothing scares me more than that while I’m gone my friends will change or leave and I’ll never see them again. I’m telling you this because that’s what has been going through my mind for the past year or so that I’ve known I am going to Uganda, and despite all these fears that I have,I know that it will be more safe in Uganda than in the U.S. because the Lord wants me there. The Lord has shown me that my fear is ultimately unnecessary.
Going to a different country to live is definitely a scary thing for me. I’m not too good with change, but I guess that could be said of everyone. One of the things that has always been the same for me is my home. I could always go down to my room and have some peace and quiet, and get away from the chaos that is my life. I used to be afraid that when that was gone, I wouldn’t have a safe place to go,and that I would lose all my good memories. Something had convinced me that 22 Independence, was super important, but the Lord, in His ultimate wisdom,changed all of it, and I went on oblivious to the implications until He pointed out to me that I was living in a different address, I was being home schooled,and I didn’t have my Dezi girl (my amazing doggy, so cute!). Through the fact that I went through all these changes God showed me that I can handle change.
Bugs have always been one of my biggest fears. Uganda has lots of bugs. I swear I nearly barfed when I saw the ant home in one of the pictures, and nearly died when I heard that that mound only took them a couple days. The fact that the mosquitoes there carried malaria didn’t help. These are the thoughts that were going through my head as I read this Scripture in Mark, “While he yet spake,there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said,Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.” (Mark 5:35-36). The Lord showed me that I didn’t have to be afraid of anything save Him because he would take care of the rest.
In my three high school years I’ve made many friends. Before high school I was not a very social person, but the Lord brought me an abundance of friends as close as brothers. I feel like I have a hundred brothers and sisters that I can talk to,hang out with, and have awesome fellowship with. Saying goodbye to my friends is like saying goodbye to family. I know I will miss my friends tremendously,but the Lord has comforted me in that I know I will make new friends in Africa.
Fear is apart of life that is ingrained into our being, and it won’t go away, but fear should never stop you from doing something that God has called you to, in my case going to Uganda. Through my fear the Lord has made me a stronger person and a stronger Christian. When I look past the fear I realize that I’m safe in the hands of God, and trust me, that is the best place to be.