"to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faithin me." Acts 26:18

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What a day!

Recently, at one of the OPCU church plants, three widows lost their homes in a land dispute.  The day after the court case was lost, they were evicted from the property and a barbed wire fence was put up to keep them off.  The church shines during difficult times like this: they gathered resources and began to build new houses for two of the widows (the third had children helping her).  The youth in our church spent the day yesterday helping to construct the mud and stick structures.    

They are built by making a frame of sticks and then slapping mud up onto the frame.  When the mud dries, they smear it with cow dung and it hardens enough to last a couple years.

Making the mud can be a fun project for a bunch of teenagers...they basically dig up a huge area of dirt, add water and stomp in it until it is good mud. :)

This is one house frame:

And here is the other:

We have visitors in from Australia right now.  Here they are smoothing out the floor of the house.

The morning and afternoon went super smoothly.  They got a lot of work done.  Eric left with one car load of kids to bring them home and then this happened:

Heh, heh...While Eric was gone, four of the kids (including Timothy and Katelyn) that were working needed to get some bricks.  The neighbors told them to cross the barbed wire fence (yes, the one blocking off the disputed land) and get some.  When they were over there, the security guards caught them and were NOT happy.  They made them march to the security guard head quarters and beat the boys with a stick (including Timothy one time, the other two boys got a bit more) along the way.  Thankfully, they didn't hit Katelyn although they did push all of them around quite a bit.  They got a good yelling at.  The guards were roughly talking in Luganda to the two other boys and they had quite a discussion that Timothy and Katelyn couldn't follow.  Then they turned to Timothy and Katelyn and got their story, talked some more among themselves and finally released them.  About that same time, Eric had come back and all the other kids came running up, "Pastor Eric, pastor Eric the kids were arrested!"  He eventually met up with them on their way out.  They were a little shaken up over their "arrest" (a few tears), but then once they were home, we all had a good laugh about their "record."  And we just had to take a few mug shots to remember it by, right?

Happy to be home...

Saturday, July 4, 2015

I'm back...

Whew...time to dust off the blog here.  June flew by with lightning speed.  For the second half we were on at Musana, so we were off line and off cell phones.  I got 9 books read, lots of sleep, lots of laughter and lots of refreshment.  It was a wonderful time.  Sadly, my camera battery died about half way through the trip.  I totally thought I had packed my charger, but even though I looked and looked I couldn't find it.  The day we left, I found it in with Benaiah's asthma stuff...go figure...

Here are a few of the highlights...

Our spare tire came off the van about 5 kilometers from the camp.  Oops!

But while your waiting, you may as well pick flowers and play in mud puddles, right?

The most hilarious car moment, though, I don't have pictures of.  One day, we drove down to the beach.  Everyone jumped out and before we realized it, we had locked the keys in the car.  Since we could kind of pry the sun roof up, we were trying to lift it enough to reach in with a stick and get the keys.  Unfortunately, in the process we shattered the sunroof!  Oops!  We cleaned it up, got the keys and went swimming.  Around lunch time, the rain clouds started to roll in so we decided to head back up to the house.  But because it had rained so much the day before, the road back up was really slick and despite the 4 wheel drive, we just couldn't make it back up.  Some of the workers were trying to help us, but eventually it was clear...we had to drive the long way around...45 minutes through a field, out to a village and up back roads around to the main gate of the camp.  Ugh.  But just as we started in, the rain began to pour down.  Eric and the worker were sitting under the missing sunroof with buckets, trying to bail the car while driving the whole way around.  We had lots of laughs that day!  We had to spend one day of our vacation in Kampala getting it fixed.  It wasn't too bad though...the older kids went to a movie (by themselves...yet another reminder of how they are growing up!) and we hung out with the little kids at a play area in the mall.

A few times, when we looked over the lake we saw clouds of bugs.  Eew!  At least they never came up and bothered us while we were there.

One thing we love about Musana, is how remote it is.  They have acres and acres with very few people.  It is such a great break from normal life!

Bambino, the sweet dog that attaches himself to us when we visit, and Talitha.

Goofing off...

We bought 13 large fish while we were there to take home.  It's such a blessing to have older kids to clean them all!  :)

Silly face...

They have a game there that involves throwing billiard balls to try to hit the other person's balls in the hole.  It's pretty fun and we enjoyed quite a few family tournaments while we were waiting for meals.

This little girl figured out exactly how to play the game and took second place in one of our tournaments.  She even beat her daddy.  haha!  She was so funny!!

We praise God for times of rest!  Now...back to work... :)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Boda Ride

I took this video a couple weeks ago.  It's totally nothing fancy...just my cell phone on the back of a boda on the way to town.  And to spare you painful amounts of time spent watching this, I sped the video up.  So don't worry, we actually weren't going that fast. :)  The place we ended up at is the main grocery store that I do most of my shopping at.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Paul's Graduation from African Bible University

This weekend we traveled to Kampala to attend the graduation of Paul, the son of Pastor Charles and Mama Rachel that we share our compound with, from African Bible University.

ABU is the university that O. Palmer Robertson has had a huge hand in helping to start and support.  Paul graduated with a 4 year degree in communications.  He will now be working at KTC with Eric.

The entire Magala crew, minus 2 daughters who couldn't make it...

The Tuiningas, Magalas and Milton (our deacon and driver).  This picture is a little taste how wonderful it is on our compound when everyone is home!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

15th Anniversary

Eric and I celebrated 15 years of marriage last night.  What a beautiful blessing it is to be married!  And what a testimony to the grace and love of God to be able to joyfully and honestly say that we love each other more, enjoy each other more and know each other more today than we did 15 years ago when we took our vows.

I remember wondering on our wedding day what kind of adventures life would bring us as we walked through it together.  I do remember that we wanted 5 kids...and that we thought that was a LOT of kids!  Ha!

We were speculating with our kids at breakfast how we would have responded if someone had told us on our wedding day that in 15 years we would be living in Uganda with 9 kids.  I don't think I would have believed them, mostly because I would have looked at myself and felt very inadequate.  Why do I say that?  Because I still feel inadequate for the job every day.  But I'm glad I feel this way.

If dependence upon God is our goal, then being faced every day with the reality that "I can't do this on my own." is a wonderful place to be.  Last night, while we were on our anniversary date, our kids watched Facing the Giants.  We came home in time to see the final scene in the locker room.  In that scene, the coach asks his players, "Tell me, is there anything your God cannot do?"  This is always very moving to me, because over our 15 years of marriage, we have faced many "giants":  things that were impossible for us, but we watched in awe as God caused them to fall before us.  Is there anything that God cannot do for us?  Has he ever held back his love?  Has he ever failed us?  Not once.

We have been blessed to have 15 years together of seeing God's amazing love and grace towards us sinners.

And I can't wait to see what the future holds...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Family Picture Attempt

Today's project was taking a picture of our family that we can use for the adoption stuff.  I have totally given up on getting everyone all matchy-matchy for family pictures.  We buy all our clothes in the markets and local thrift stores (all left overs from American/European/Chinese thrift stores) these days, so we called it quits on matching.  Are they clean? Check.  No sweat pants? Check.  Are the clothes yours or do they belong to a different sibling?  (Yes, I know you got them out of your closet, but that really doesn't mean that they are yours.)  Check.  Does your shirt mostly match with your trousers?  Check.  You may now go outside where mommy's tripod is and stand nicely for the picture.

Please watch out for dog poo.

And no, don't worry about shoes...looks like all nine of you forgot to put them on...ahem, guess you do match after all... :)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Loft for the Boys

Wondering how we're fitting everyone in these days?  It used to be that the girls shared one room (the smaller room) and the little boys another room (the larger room)  And the toys were in with the little boys.  When Denise came, the girls outnumbered the boys and they really needed the bigger room, that also happens to have a third closet.  But if the kids switched rooms, where would the toys go?  Since the Legos are the main attraction, often all the kids (plus a few friends) are in the room playing at the same time... that can often be up to 15 kids!  They need a little space. 

In came the bright idea to build a loft in the smaller of the two rooms for the little boys (the big boys share a closet size room in a different part of the house).  The loft is actually big enough for four boys and sturdy enough for wrestling.  We were even able to have an electrician come and install a light underneath the loft.  The metal rod going across the ceiling is for the custom made mosquito net.  The boys are really enjoying it up there! 

And now they have the entire floor for all the toys.  And just for kicks, I turned one wall into a chalkboard.  How fun is that?