"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

Friday, February 12, 2016

Uganda Elections Coming: Prayers Appreciated!

Downtown Mbale is pasted on almost every available surface with political posters.  It is a daily reminder that national elections are right around the corner.  On February 18th Ugandans will vote for the next president and other local elections will take place in the days following.  We are praying for peace during this time!

Police and military servicemen are seen now everywhere.  Police trucks, army trucks and riot equipment have been rolling through town.  Day and night we hear the noise of the civilian force being trained to help the police "maintain security" being pulled through a boot camp like training at our neighboring elementary school.  News reports from across Uganda tell about opposition troubles and riots.  We are hearing and seeing all the energy that is gathering daily and hoping and praying that it is not used inappropriately.

How does this effect us?  We hope and pray it won't really!  But we are gathering supplies and planning on staying away from downtown for as long as needed.  Full tank of gas, propane tanks full, enough rice, flour, sugar, etc to last for 7-10 days are going to be in our house.  Our missionary/expat community is also really good about keeping in touch with each other and alerting if there are troubles.  We will be picking up our missionary associate, Sarah from the airport on Tuesday, driving home Wednesday and then staying home until stability and peace have been reached.  It always takes a few days for election results to be released and some time for the loosing party to admit defeat (and hopefully not fight it out!)

So please pray for the country!  Please pray for peace to reign!  Please pray for our safety and the safety of our loved ones here!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fun Days

Yesterday we took all our church kids out to Lulwanda Children's Home to play football.  We had three games: primary boys (grade school), girls and then secondary boys (high school).  Even though we lost...well, the boys did, the girls tied at 0-0...it was still a great day!  

 We also got a membership at the pool up the street.  A great way to survive dry season this year!

 And Talitha finally got enough courage to get into the deep pool and float around in her life jacket.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Laying the foundation...

And work is underway!  It's hard to believe after so many months of praying and planning and hoping and waiting that the digging has actually begun!  

And hard work it is...cement trucks don't really exist out of the big cities (namely Kampala).  So all the cement for the foundation must be mixed by hand.  Bags of cement, jerry cans of water, gravel and sand are all brought in and mixed by hand.  Then the cement is loaded into a wheelbarrow and carried to where it is to be dumped.

It was great to see that some of the young men of our church and other OPCU churches are on the work crew.

A very typical scene...all the neighbor kids watching the blond headed girl that has a mind of her own.  I'm always impressed to see how my kids handle this attention with grace...on most days... :)

Abdalah is a great friend and a member of our church.  The church was able to rent a room for him right next to the property so that he can help with security.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Life Presbyterian Church Photo

Our church took a group photo this morning.  They are a wonderful bunch of people!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New Life OPCU Ground Breaking for the New Church Building

Last Saturday we had the ground breaking for our new church building!  What an exciting time!  Through the gifts of church members, attenders and friends we have almost (but not quite!) raised all the money needed to build.  The septic tank was put in a few weeks ago.  On Monday they began to lay the foundation.  

Normally, we have men's Bible study on our compound on Saturdays.  But since they were doing the ground breaking, they decided to meet on the church property. 

These kids and their shirts make me laugh sometimes...
 Martin Magala, Pastor Charles, Elder Tabytia, Eric, Pastor Messalamu, Deacon Milton and Paul Magala made the first digs.

Please continue to pray for this exciting project!  We are so thrilled that our church will finally have a place to worship in!  Pray for the building to go well, for safety for the workers, for the neighbors to see the love of Christ as they watch, and for the rest of the money to come in.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Bullet Post Updates

:: Tomorrow we head back to a "normal" routine.  We are all done with Christmas, all done with New Years, all done with Youth Camp... now back to our regularly scheduled program. We are thankful for the holidays, but thankful for routine too!

::William and Matthew are down with Malaria this week!  Poor guys!  Prayers appreciated for a quick recovery.  This is William, bravely getting his blood taken for the malaria test.

::  Benaiah had some rough days this past week too.  It seems as if he is very allergic to something around our house/compound, but we have no idea what!  This past Wednesday his whole face swelled up and his eyes were swollen shut.  It seemed to be an anaphylactic response of sorts.  We are now trying to track down an epinephrine injection (something like an epi-pen) to keep on hand in case this gets worse!  On Monday night, he had started to have an asthma attack. We had just given him a nebulizer treatment and were realizing that he needed oxygen too. We had been gifted an oxygen tank (so thankful to the Lord and our friends at Musana camp for that!), but we couldn't get the bolt loose on the tank and Benaiah was starting to shake and wheeze with every breath.  We prayed and asked for prayer from my prayer group here in Mbale.  A second later the bolt loosened and the tank worked beautifully.  But when we checked him again, he was back up to normal and the wheezing had stopped!  He didn't need the oxygen or any more medicine for the rest of the evening!  God was so good to us to answer our prayers so quickly and fully!  On Sunday, most of the gang went to a village church, but William (who was already sick) and Benaiah (who didn't need to be around any more dust) stayed home with me.  Benaiah and I had a lovely lunch date together since William was asleep in bed.

::On a sadder note, on January 8, our Missionary Associate's younger sister was in a very horrible head-on collision.  She broke multiple bones and has already undergone three surgeries.  Sarah, our MA, is flying out tonight to go be with her family and help them.  Thankfully, she purchased a two-way ticket, so we hope to see her back in four weeks.  Prayers appreciated.  Sarah has a vibrant ministry here, not just to our family (she is only with us part time), but with the children of our church and many other really great things.  While this is certainly in God's hands and in his good will that she return to America for a time, I can see that it is also a "messenger from Satan" sent to discourage the good work that she is doing here.  We are going to miss her terribly for the next few weeks.  Pray for her safe travels, her sister's healing, our kids' hearts, that the kids in her reading classes will continue to come and learn underneath Connie Jackson's substitute teaching, and that our little home school will run smoothly for the next month.

:: Here is a picture of my little buddy Jackson.  When I first met him, he was 7 months old and weighed less than 15 pounds.  He was frail, sickly, malnourished and the grandmother was discouraged.  His mom had died when he was an infant and his grandmother had only been able to give him porridge and tea that his body wasn't ready for.  I began to buy him a little bit of formula every few weeks.  The grandmother was very diligent to give him the formula, never asking for more than she needed and never "sharing" with others it wasn't meant for.  Over the months, as he has healed and grown strong and healthy, the grandmother has grown in her confidence to care for him.  I know the calories from the milk was not what saved his life, but I do think it was the small hand up that encouraged his grandmother to begin to own and invest in his care.  I love it that a small gift can do so much in the life of one little boy.  I saw on fb a meme that says, "You have the power (and I would add that it's Holy Spirit power) to say, 'I will not let their story end like this.'"  So thankful that God gives us these opportunities to be a part of a different endings to the stories around us and that we can encourage others (like this grandmother) to also be a part of better stories.  And don't ya just want to squeeze those cheeks??

::Finally, we have heard that our lawyers have applied for a court date for Denise.  Please pray that we get a court date soon, so that we can continue to work towards getting her a visa to travel with us to America.  She's a precious kiddo...worth every prayer and penny!  :)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Personal Retreat

While the big kids and Eric were off at youth camp for the second half of the week, Sarah (our amazing Missionary Associate) stayed home with the littles and I had the opportunity to take a personal retreat.  I went to Jinja and stayed in a super sweet banda at a retreat center on the banks of the Nile.  Although most Ugandans would probably consider me clinically depressed for wanting to be by myself for a few days (A Ugandan would never be alone by choice) my intent was merely to spend some quality, uninterrupted time with Jesus.  And I highly, highly recommend this to any person who leads a life filled with people...be they big or little. :)  I love my quiet time in the morning reading my Bible, journaling and praying, but time constraints and the pitter patter of little feet wanting a morning snuggle, often cause me to wrap things up earlier than I want.  I took off from here wanting extended time for prayer, Bible reading and refreshment.  I downloaded a series by Elizabeth Elliot called Suffering is Not for Nothing.  It was so so good! (Although you do have to look past the 80s fashion styles...oy!)  I am super thankful to all my helpers for letting me do this.  It was a huge blessing to me and hopefully my family will also reap the fruit of this time as well!